It’s been an emotional couple of weeks for many of us. Sunday in the UK was Mother’s Day, and like many of you, I can’t hug my mum right now — although I do feel very blessed that I was able to wave at her through her window. This Sunday was also a difficult new experience for those of us who attend church regularly, as we found ourselves unable to gather as normal for Sunday worship. Again though, I felt blessed to watch the live streaming of a Mass with all my family at home and felt very moved and profoundly united in prayer with people all over the world praying in new circumstances. And like so many other experiences these days, it showed me how much I have been taking things for granted.
Each day this past week has brought news of further school closures. Our children face time away from friends and uncertainty about their future. Here in the UK we have certainly taken for granted, until now, the fact that our children would always have access to safe schools and education.
Meanwhile, the school closures in our programme countries have thrown up a whole lot of new questions. Given that our mission is based on providing one meal every day in a place of education, our approach has always been that we do not normally provide meals when schools are closed – whether that be during school holidays or because schools have been temporarily shut down for other reasons. However, in such circumstances we always consider the needs of the children who find themselves out of school and whether an emergency approach might be appropriate and possible.
Given many of these closures have just happened, we have only just begun to consider some very complex and fast changing situations. Incredibly, some of our teams have already identified ways that we might be able to keep feeding children. We will keep you posted on developments as soon as we have news to share, striving all the while to seek new ways of keeping our promise to the little ones.
Over the last few days another surprising thing happened here in Scotland. The sun came out! We haven’t seen it for a long time! And now suddenly the birds are singing, and flower buds are opening. After a very long dark winter a new season is here. It has helped me remember that new seasons do always come, eventually. It looks as though the whole world faces a time of prolonged hardship and challenge — a very long tough winter.
But this will pass. None of us knows when or how, exactly, but a new season will come. And when it does children will need to eat whilst at school – just like they always have. The importance of Mary’s Meals, today and tomorrow, is greater than ever.
Mary’s Meals Founder