Ferne McCann cooks recipes inspired by Mary’s Meals

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TV star of the First Time Mum series Ferne McCann is encouraging people in Argyll and Bute to get behind the work of Mary’s Meals by setting herself a novel cooking challenge in support of the low-cost global charity.

Ferne decided to launch the challenge after being astounded that it costs the charity just £15.90 to feed a child for a whole school year – and as a result, has set herself the culinary task of preparing as many dishes as possible, using ingredients inspired by the food that Mary’s Meals serves, for the same cost.

Ferne, who is a keen cook and advocate of healthy food, is filming the cooking challenge for her Instagram channel and also for First Time Mum. She hopes it will highlight the transformative work of the charity which reaches more than two million children with a nutritious meal every school day in 19 countries including Malawi, Haiti and Ethiopia.

Ferne explains: ‘The idea behind the charity’s work is that they provide a meal in school every day and this attracts children to come to the classroom instead of working or begging for food. This way, the kids get an education which can help them to escape poverty in the future. It’s such a brilliant, simple idea – I love it and I want more people in Argyll and Bute to know about it!

‘The tasty meals the children eat vary from egg and noodles, rice and beans to lentil dahl, porridge and wraps. So, I’m making some dishes inspired by these just to demonstrate how amazing it is that Mary’s Meals can feed a child for a whole school year for just £15.90.’

Mary’s Meals works alongside local communities to serve nutritious food which attracts the children into the classroom and gives them the energy to learn and grow.

Wherever possible, the charity aims to provide children with food they like to eat, made from produce that supports the local economy where they live. The charity is able to keep its running costs low as much of its work is done by an army of dedicated volunteers, both across the UK and in the countries where it works, including more than 80,000 in Malawi.

Emma Hutton, head of grassroots engagement, at Mary’s Meals, said: ‘Ferne’s enthusiasm for our work is wonderful to see and mirrors that of our incredible supporters and volunteers who are drawn to Mary’s Meals because of our simple focus and low-cost approach.

‘Like Ferne, many people are amazed that a donation of just £15.90 can feed a child for a whole school year and we are hugely grateful to her for spreading the word about what we do. Despite the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, which have hit some of the world’s poorest countries very hard, Mary’s Meals is now feeding more than two million children around the world. We hope Ferne’s cooking challenge will enthuse many more people in Argyll and Bute to support our work.’