Some people just have a knack for putting the FUN into a fundraiser. This post is all about that. First, I highlight a bit about Mary’s Meals, the organization at the center of this fundraiser, next I share some details and photos of the sock hop, and finally I share some exciting news for Iowans related to Mary’s Meals.
Mary’s Meals: A Simple Solution to World Hunger
Many here in Iowa have become familiar with Mary’s Meals as its founder and CEO, Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow, has spoken at past Christ Our Life conferences held in Des Moines. In a nutshell, Mary’s Meals aims to provide chronically hungry children with one meal every school day. Providing children with a meal each day they attend school also encourages education that can lift them out of poverty in later life. Hear more facts about the organization in this video interview with Magnus. The one fact that still astonishes me is this:
It only costs a dime to feed one child a meal. Let me rephrase: ten cents is all it takes to feed one child one meal per day!
Several fundraisers have been held throughout Des Moines in recent years in honor of Mary’s Meals. St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in West Des Moines has adopted Mary’s Meals as a parish-wide social justice project this year, asking that every child in the religious ed program and at the parish school do their part to earn money to feed another child. Other groups have organized 5K run/walk races. Individual families are stepping up, too. Mike and Kindra Barten have hosted an annual father-daughter dance the past few years with proceeds going to Mary’s Meals, and now Chris and Bonnie Shaw added a sock hop fundraiser for the whole family to enjoy. So let’s talk about that sock hop!
Mary’s Meals Sock Hop
Our family attended the event, and I am extremely impressed by all the clever planning and work behind the event. I asked Bonnie Shaw to share some details in hopes others around may be inspired, too. Here are Bonnie’s words.
“As I began planning and organizing the sock hop, I entrusted the event to Our Lord by laying it at the foot of His Cross and asking our Blessed Mother to spread her mantle of protection over it. I asked that they would both be honored by the event and the generosity of those who would help and attend, that our hearts would be open to the message of Mary’s Meals and our call to share with the least of these. I prayed that our efforts would yield meals for at least 10 students. I asked that those 10 would be cared for, that the Lord would multiply our efforts, and that Our Lady would care for these little ones whose hunger has been entrusted to her.”
“My prayers about the sock hop gave me the insight to also offer a dime arcade, where each game played would equal a meal for someone else. Generous hands traded dollars for dimes at our homemade jukebox change machine. I wanted the kids to see the connection that each dime made a difference.
“My heart was full, watching little girls spin in their full skirts, hula hoops blazing, our dear friends swinging the night away to music from another era, little boy grins putting their family members in the dime arcade jail, families gathered to chat, fellowship happening as beautiful commercials on the work and mission of Mary’s Meals were shared. Various young people kept bringing me dimes, saying ‘Here’s another meal! I found another meal!'”
“In addition to our entertaining and well-received hula hoop, limbo, and bubblegum blowing contests, we had a few guessing jar contests. ‘How many dimes will we raise tonight or rather, how many meals will we provide?’ That’s exactly how we posed the question. Our best guess was 2,000 meals. The answer, my friend, will have you concentrating on your math skills. The end of the night brought us a glorious total. The generous hearts and the blessing of Our Lord and His mother provided 7,694 meals to some hungry children that have long been in their care.”
Bonnie also mentioned that the event couldn’t have been such a success without the help of others such as the Knights of Columbus, the Barten family, St. Francis of Assisi staff Sheila Timmerman and Deb Ryan, Christian Family Movement groups, St. Francis School and Home volunteers, YCAF (Young Catholic Adults and Friends), FISH (Fellowship in Spirit with Him youth group) and one musical young man who created the playlist and served as an enthusiastic DJ.
Now some photos of the sock hop decorations … in the event you need a little more inspiration! :)
But wait. There’s one more thing, an important announcement.
Magus is Headed to Iowa!
Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow has written a book, The Shed That Fed A Million Children, on the extraordinary story of Mary’s Meals. The book will be released on May 26, and he’s coming to Iowa to celebrate its launch! Magnus will start his book tour in Scotland then fly to New York for press, then fly to Iowa where he will host his only US book-signing events. Then from Iowa, Magnus heads to Canada.
Here are the details of Magnus’ Iowa visit:
May 29: Solon, Iowa — St. Mary’s Catholic Church
6:30PM: Mary’s Meals Family Walk/Run
7:30PM: Magnus talk/Q&A/Book signing to follow/appetizers served
May 30: Indianola, Iowa — Smith Chapel Simpson College Campus
8:30AM: Light refreshments served
9:00AM: Magnus talks/Q&A/book signing to follow
May 30: West Des Moines, Iowa — St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church
5:30PM: Magnus talks/Q&A/book signing to follow
Finally, one last photo — one demonstrating that we are finally getting our family FUN groove back.
P.S., there’s a story behind our sock hop attire and poodle skirts I made for the girls. My goal was to use materials we already had on hand so that our dollars could be turned into dimes … and those dimes turned into meals for hungry children. Stay tuned for that post!