Her gift of music and a dream brings hope to hungry children

“Bringing glory to Him while feeding the poor”

Back to all stories | Posted on 02/25/21 in NewsBlogFundraising

Mary’s Meals is a grassroots global movement – and an intrinsic part of our work is to involve as many people as possible, recognizing that each person has a unique part to play in this mission. One woman’s journey started in 2014 and most recently resulted in an amazing benefit concert. Janet Bradford, a double masters in piano performance and pedagogy, wanted to commit to giving to the poor during the Lenten season, and this is her story.

Widows Mite 2014:

On Ash Wednesday, Janet awoke from a powerful dream that renewed her faith to trust in God to provide for her family during a challenging time. “I was an old woman with a craggy embittered face, with a gnarled hand gripping a filthy penny. This pitiful vision contrasted greatly with the widow in the Gospel who gave up everything she had. The weathered and wrinkled hand effortlessly released the ‘widow’s mite’ and dropped it freely into the coffers. Her aged yet glowing face was serene and peaceful, reflecting the fruits of hope, love and trust in God.” In that dream, Janet’s hand merged with the widow’s and went from being a wrinkled fist to an open, glowing, and glorified white as snow hand releasing the dirty penny! Janet awoke from the dream with a bold conviction to give to the poor during that Lenten season. 

Longing to Concertize:

Janet’s education and longing to concertize in her hometown of Des Moines and raise funds for a charity was a purpose she had yet to realize. “I wanted to donate the proceeds but I was never drawn to any particular charity”…until she attended the Christ Our Life Iowa conference and heard Magnus MacFarlane Barrow speak about founding Mary’s Meals. Janet felt a strong connection to the “simple idea” of feeding impoverished children a daily meal, in their place of education, which is now just $21.00/year.

The Shed that Fed a Million Children:

Coincidentally, Janet’s parish, St. Francis of Assissi, created family worship packages to help parishioners stay connected to their faith during the isolated days of the pandemic. The bag included Magnus’ award-winning best seller,  The Shed. Janet was taken with stories of creative yet simple fundraising ideas. “I got to thinking that if a student could raise money by describing hot lunch school meals, then I could help the children by giving a piano concert!” Prior to Lent 2019, she also read Mother Theresa’s book, Something Beautiful for God, and longed to find a way to care and nurture the poorest of the poor. Janet recalled her dream from 2014, laid both books alongside each other and finally visualized her plan.

The Beautiful part:

“I knew that Something Beautiful for God is the perfect title for my Mary’s Meals benefit concert; 'bringing glory to Him while feeding the world’s hungriest children' ". Janet chose to support the Mangombo School in Malawi. Janet’s gift to God and to Mary’s Meals will live on well beyond Lent for years for many people to enjoy.

Open quote mark “It never ceases to amaze me that people find so many ways to support Mary’s Meals.” - Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow, founder and CEO of Mary’s Meals. Close quote mark