IT has become one of the most well-known charitable organisations launched in recent years - and Mary’s Meals now helps over a million youngsters with a daily meal.
The charity has joined forces with Scottish oats firm Stoats to launch the #PorridgeSmiles campaign ahead of World Porridge Day to raise money for impoverished children.
Mugs of porridge with edible faces were being served up from the Stoats Porridge Bar van in Edinburgh to raise awareness of Mary’s Meals in association with the People’s Postcode Lottery.
The charity began in Malawi in 2002 after its founder Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow met a young woman called Emma who was dying from AIDS.
She was sitting on the mud floor of her hut surrounded by her children.
When Magnus asked her 14-year-old son, Edward, what his dreams were in life, his reply was: “To have enough food to eat and to go to school one day.”
This was a key part of the inspiration that led to the Mary’s Meals campaign.
Mary’s Meals, which began feeding 200 children in one school in Malawi in 2002, now reaches 1,187,104 children with a daily meal in their place of education in 12 countries, across four continents.
It costs just £12.20 to feed a child for a whole school year through Mary’s Meals.
As the official partner of World Porridge Day 2016, oats company Stoats served up bowls of porridge to the 250 staff at People’s Postcode Lottery in Edinburgh.
A celebration of Scotland’s traditional dish, World Porridge Day on 10 October, supports Mary’s Meals, raising awareness of the charity’s work and generating funds to feed needy children in schools in Malawi.
Stoats gave away bowls of porridge from their van on Queen Street to encourage People’s Postcode Lottery staff to get involved in their #PorridgeSmiles campaign.
The campaign, which is encouraging people throughout October to get creative with their porridge toppings by making a smiley face and posting a picture on their social channels with the hashtag #PorridgeSmiles, will raise funds for Mary’s Meals.
Hundreds of staff created #PorridgeSmiles and showed their support by texting ‘OATS16 £2’ to 70070 to provide a hungry child with meals in school for a month.
Managing Director at Stoats, Tony Stone, said: “We are extremely proud to be the official partner for World Porridge Day 2016.
“We wanted to bring our Porridge Bar to the centre of Edinburgh to help raise awareness and funds for a worthwhile cause.
“It is great to see all People’s Postcode Lottery staff sharing their #PorridgeSmiles and we’d like to thank them for their support.”
Alan Brown, executive director at Mary’s Meals, said: “There’s been smiles all round in George Street today and it’s great to see so many people getting behind World Porridge Day.
“The daily mug of porridge Mary’s Meals provides to hungry children in school makes such a difference to their lives, allowing them to reach their full potential.
Sanjay Singh, senior programmes manager at People’s Postcode Lottery, said: “Players have supported Mary’s Meals with £350,000 in funding to date and we are delighted to help Mary’s Meals launch their #PorridgeSmiles campaign this morning.”
The Edinburgh based oats company is also donating 20% of all online porridge sales throughout October.