Bernadette is super sweet supporter

Brilliant baker is part of our family of amazing supporters!  

Back to all stories | Posted on 05 Oct 2018 in Blog

Bernadette Barr has been using her recipe for successful fundraising to honour the memory of her late mother, by sponsoring a school with Mary’s Meals.

The cake maker, from Greenock, Renfrewshire, inspired supporters after taking to the stage to tell her story at our recent Mary’s Meals Day event in Scotland.

Bernadette said: “Five years ago, we chose to celebrate my mum Rachel’s 81st birthday by going along to Mary’s Meals Day. We were shown the powerful documentary film Child 31. Close to the end of the film my mum turned to me and whispered: ‘if only I was younger’.

“If only I was younger. It was a simple sentiment but one that would change my life. You see, my mum had spent years raising money to help poor and vulnerable children around the world, but as she grew older she knew that her fundraising days were limited.”

Bernadette decided then and there that she would begin supporting Mary’s Meals, inspired by her mother’s example and her wish to do more.

“I realised that I had to do whatever I could to continue Mum’s work. But what could I possibly do to follow in her amazing footsteps? I decided to learn how to bake – and then sell the cakes to raise money for Mary’s Meals," she said. 

“I named my little venture ‘Baked With Love.’ Now I make cakes of all shapes and sizes and with some crazy themes. I love baking and the challenge it brings, people really enjoy the cake, and for a year after children are receiving Mary’ Meals and being fed and educated."

Bernadette also runs afternoon teas twice a year, which are so popular that the tickets sell out as soon as the date is announced: 

“I’m always blown away by the generosity of people, with several thousand pounds being raised at each event. I have become known to many as the Mary’s Meals lady, which gives people a local point of contact whether it is for making a donation, accepting a cheque or asking to arrange a talk somewhere.”

After sadly losing her mum in 2016, Bernadette and her husband Ian found comfort when they decided to sponsor a school in Liberia in Rachel’s memory.

She said: “We pledged to raise the £4,000 needed for the school each year, but only 20 months later we have actually raised over £23,000 for Tombay Primary School in Liberia. 

“Our project for the school is named ‘Rachel’s Kitchen’ in memory of my mum’s need to feed people – not just hungry children around the world, but just about anyone who came into our family home!

“The day the pictures of the school arrived was one of the proudest days of my life. They left me in floods of tears. The wording on the wall of the school reads: ‘In memory of an astonishing woman whose vision has become a reality in Rachel’s Kitchen.’ 

“I often think of the little children looking at those words and thinking who is this Rachel? Well she was my mum!

Bernadette is one of many supporters who make it possible for Mary’s Meals to reach more than 1.3 million hungry children every school day. Find out how you can make an amazing difference  in the lives of impoverished children around the world.

There are many different ways you can help by donating your time, money, thoughts and prayers.