Emergency relief

The main focus of Mary’s Meals is our school feeding programs but we also have a long history of providing emergency relief to vulnerable regions around the world.


Months of brutal fighting across the Tigray region of Ethiopia (which began in November 2020) has forced millions of people to flee their homes, fearing for their lives and facing starvation. More than 150,000 destitute and traumatized people – including children who have lost their parents – have sought refuge in the region’s capital, Mekelle. We are continuing to work closely with our local partner to provide vital food aid and other essentials to around 20,000 internally displaced people, many of whom are living in schools that have had to be turned into temporary shelters. As the war rages on, you can help us reach more people in need.


Our response to Covid-19 is always evolving and currently ongoing. We are striving to continue our feeding programs across the world under safe restrictions that adhere to government policy. For more information visit our Covid-19 response page.

Responding to Emergency Situations

Mary’s Meals grew out of a response to the Bosnian conflict in the early 1990s. Since then we have been involved in emergency relief work in countries including Myanmar, Haiti, India, Kenya and Thailand.

At the heart of any emergency relief work we undertake, is always our principle of feeding vulnerable children in a place of education. In many cases, we have been able to extend our support to reach wider communities.

Mary’s Meals has strong relationships with partners operating throughout the world. Should an emergency situation arise in an area where we have a trusted local partner, we will work together in order to reach those suffering most.

Past Emergency Relief Work

In general, we remain open to assisting wherever there is great need and we’re able to mount an effective response.


In early 2020, we launched a campaign to raise awareness of the great need for school meals in Turkana (in northern Kenya) where 85% of children live in poverty and around half of the primary school-age population were missing out on an education. At the time, we were already providing life-saving meals to more than 20,000 vulnerable children in early childhood development centers across the region, but we knew that so many more were in need of our help. Thanks to the generous response from supporters, we were able to welcome more than 18,900 additional children to the program, providing a life-line for families in Turkana and hope for a brighter future.


In 2013, we provided material aid to those affected by the devastating floods and landslides. In 2004, we launched an emergency appeal after India was hit by a tsunami that washed away homes and fishing boats, leaving families without the means to support themselves. The appeal raised funds to help a fishing community in Tamil Nadu, initially providing food and shelter, and then support to rebuild homes and purchase new boats.

In 2018, following devastating floods in Kerala, we launched an emergency campaign to provide aid to those worst affected. Thanks to the generosity of our supporters and the hard work of our local partner, we were able to provide emergency food parcels to 13,000 families as well as distributing 2,000 cooking kits and 1,000 portable gas stoves to families identified by their communities as being most in need.

Kenya and South Sudan

In 2014, Mary’s Meals responded to the East Africa crisis, where 10.7 million people were affected by severe food shortages. In addition to our ongoing work in this region, we provided emergency school feeding to areas of particular need in Kenya and South Sudan.


In 2011 we provided food, material and financial aid to the Mary’s Meals volunteers and their families who lost their homes due to a typhoon.


In 2011 we joined forces with our long standing friends in Malawi and South African charity, Gift of the Givers, to deliver as much emergency food aid as possible to help keep more than 40,000 starving people in Somalia alive.


In January 2010, an earthquake ripped through Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince, wrecking the schools in Cité Soleil where we provide Mary’s Meals to thousands of children living in terrible poverty. Our supporters were extraordinarily generous, allowing us to channel emergency food and medical supplies through our partners within days of the earthquake.