Over the course of two weeks in November Mary's Meals and the Strathclyde University Foodbank Society came together to host a joint donation drive for the charities they support. We had the chance to sit down with Jasmine (Foodbank Society President) and Jenny (Mary's Meals Vice President) to chat about the work they are doing and how students can get involved. Find out more about each society by checking out their page on the website, here and here.
What do your societies do?
Jenny - "Mary's Meals is a Scottish charity that started in Dalmally. We feed 2 million children across 19 countries in their place of education. The whole idea is to get these kids into school and education then gets them better opportunities and out of the poverty they're facing.
It only costs £15.90 to feed a child for an entire year and in the society we have a sponsored school in Malawi called Nyaulombo. There are 296 children so we have a fundraising total of £4,706 to feed the whole school for a year."
Jasmine - "We work more close to home but a similar concept. We're partnered with the Glasgow North East Trussell Trust up by Easterhouse. We supply food to the community and to people who've been referred by a social worker or GP to come to the foodbank and get a parcel.
We give away nappies, baby formula. We've got people in our community so close to the university living in these conditions and you walk past them everyday. It's something you become quite blind to. We run regular collection events around the uni and then we go across to the centre to help sort out the boxes and donations are getting distributed properly."
It was an exciting opportunity for these societies to partner up and run joint drives supporting great causes both at home in Scotland and away in Malawi. The Foodbank Society collected non-perishable food items to go in the Glasgow NE Trussell Trust's Christmas boxes and Mary's Meals were, and still are, collecting materials for their backpack project.
Why did you decide to collaborate?
Jasmine - "It ties a lot of things together nicely. It's easy to take the basics for granted. I really enjoy our collaborations as there is a tendancy to see these issues as quite detached and far removed. But there are a lot of people living under these conditions 2 miles east of Strathclyde.
It's [the backpack project] a lovely thing to do in univeristy as we can take academic attainment for granted. A lot of the people at univeristy it's sort of been the trajectory of their life but these things can be a real crossroads for people who don't have these resources, it can be amazing to see the people who've blossomed under the support of the charities."
Jenny - "Stuff that seems so normal to us, often is the only gift these kids get. It is a big deal for Mary's Meals to be able to give people in these communities, especially the kids, hope.
We're just starting to see the first kids from 2002 go to univeristy. One lady in Malawi who was one of the first children to be supported by Mary's Meals just graduated from university. It is such a big deal, especially for girls. It makes you think we are so lucky."
It was great to catch up with both societies and shine light on the amazing work they are doing. You can support Mary's Meals by making an online donation here and checking out their backpack project event as they are still looking for materials for this into the new year. You can find out more about the Glasgow NE Trussell Trust Foodbank here and keep up to date with the events run by the Strathclyde University Foodbank Society here. Thanks to both Jasmine and Jenny for taking time out of the drive to speak with us!