Midwest shows Mary’s Meals some love

Maggie Bermel reflects on the recent Christ Our Life conference in Iowa, where she was volunteering for Mary’s Meals.

Back to all stories | Posted on 12 Oct 2018 in Blog

The little acts of love that support Mary's Meals never fail to amaze me – and that love was clear to see at the Christ Our Life conference in Des Moines, Iowa.

Throughout the arena, there were people wearing Mary’s Meals shirts. Many more had the shirts in their hands and the booth that was selling the shirts always had a flow of people at it.

I spoke to one family, the Doyles, who had brought a bag of coins they had been collecting for Mary’s Meals. Justin Doyle told me that his children saved the money by asking for donations for birthdays and Christmas.

As his daughter Ellie handed the coins to Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow, the founder and global chief executive of Mary’s Meals, Justin said: “It’s a pretty big deal for them. They’ve been looking forward to handing that money over for two years now.”

That melted my heart. Mary's Meals is surrounded by people showing so much love for the children of the world and the mission to feed every child in their place of education. Magnus perfectly summed this up in his speech, when he said: “These acts of love seem little to us, but they aren’t little to the children.”

This year’s conference was even more special because Jimmy Belabre from Haiti – one of the stars of the documentary Generation Hope – was in attendance. He began his speech by saying, real slow, “I shouldn’t be here today…” which brought tears to my eyes, because we are able to witness the incredible opportunities that are open to people like Jimmy because they received one meal each day in school.

Jimmy described some of the unthinkable hardships he has gone through. We could sense his struggles as he described how he tried to avoid the gangs he used to work for and the obstacles he has faced for promoting peace in his community, but we could also see the hope in his eyes.

He ended with his beautiful music and the entire arena was mesmerized by it. In a way, I think we were all staring in amazement at the power of food and education and what that can do for a person's life.

Mary's Meals, thank you for coming to the Midwest for the Christ Our Life conference. You can count on our continued support, and we will see you in two years for the next conference!