A multitude of Americans, Europeans, and other westerners donate substantial amounts of money to charitable foundations every day. The majority of these donors, however, are upper-middle to upper class people, by American standards. The reason, I think, that more people do not contribute to charitable foundations is due the vast majority of obliviousness to how little is needed to make a substantial difference. Most Americans and Europeans are aware and sympathetic to the misfortune of Africans, per se, because of the mass propaganda stunts that are endorsed by politicians, Christian organizations, and many other prominent groups of people. The fundamental flaw with this widespread advertising is that it never seems to embellish the idea of the difference a small donation can make. That leads me to my next point, the profound message that the Irish non-profit organization Mary’s Meals broadcasted.
The founder of Mary’s Meals, a man by the name of Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow, did not receive an outrageous grant to start it. Rather, he asked his neighbors for simple food donations and drove a truck across Europe to Bosnia, hand-delivering his humble donation directly to children whose only way of obtaining food is begging on the streets. He embarked on this venture after learning that an overwhelmingly large percentage of children throughout impoverished areas worldwide do not attend school because of their lack of ability to feed the students. As his cause grew, so did the food donations, and more effectively, the money. Many mainstream non-profits, upon growing to a certain point, seem to relinquish their pursuit of helping as many people worldwide as possible in favor of maintaining a successful business infrastructure. Mary’s Meals is a perfect example of a non-profit that is wholly dedicated to their cause. Their employees are not typical; they are actually committed volunteers. This non-profit also sustains an unbelievable rate of efficiency, embarking in close to no ventures that are deemed unhelpful in aiding as many children in need as possible.
Their global headquarters, for example, is essentially a shack with internet connection and a phone line. Also, 93 cents from every dollar donated is used in charitable activities, feeding over one million kids every day. In doing this, Mary’s meals radiates the profound message that many non-profits fail to: that an individual does not need to donate a substantial amount of money to make a difference. Mary’s Meals also ensures potential donors that their money will not go to useless investments orchestrated by corporation boards, but instead will be meticulously spent to obtain the optimal quantity of food. The non-profit also accomplishes this not by advertising, but by their own example. To me, this is very unique, and I think it has affected many other youths and people who normally would not bother to donate. Extraordinary youths, such as “The Amazing Charlie,” who has single-handedly raised near $75,000 for Mary’s Meals, have also recognized the values of Mary’s Meals and encouraged a gamut of citizens to get involved. In doing this, Mary’s Meals established a strong marketing foundation without spending a cent.
It is also a lot more effective, I believe, to have participants of your organization publicly endorse your entity by actually carrying out charitable acts. The most thoughtful concept of all, however, is that Mary’s Meals did not coerce Charlie to act as he did. Charlie did what he did out of sheer respect and admiration for the enduring values that MacFarlane-Barrow instilled in his non-profit. Because of the genuine effort and efficiency of this outstanding project, I feel as though I’ve made the optimum use of my modest donation, and I hope I can mimic The Amazing Charlie in endorsing Mary’s Meals and its values by example.
Many students at St. Paul’s regularly and graciously donate to charitable foundations. Many, however, do not for several different reasons, which is perfectly acceptable. Formally, I would like to urge those with any reservations regarding donating, or even volunteering, to consider Mary’s Meals, which doles food out to more than 60 impoverished countries.