Hungry kids in Malawi, who now have the chance of a brighter future thanks to the incredible efforts of nine-year-old Martha Payne and her friends, have sent a heartfelt message of thanks.
Martha and supporters of her NeverSeconds blog have raised over £80,000 so far for Mary's Meals and worldwide awareness of the charity, which provides a daily meal to hungry children in some of the world's poorest countries where poverty and hunger prevent them from getting an education.
Already, as a result of donations to Martha's online giving page, Martha has raised enough money to build a new kitchen shelter and feed an entire school for a year at Lirangwe Primary School in Blantyre, Malawi, as part of Mary's Meals' Sponsor A School initiative.
In addition to the children at Lirangwe school, around 5,800 of the world's poorest children will begin receiving Mary's Meals because of funds raised -- and that number keeps increasing as donations come in.
Today, all 1,963 pupils at Lirangwe Primary, were excited to hear the news and gave Martha and her supporters a huge message of thanks. On the blackboard at their school, they wrote: "Thank you Martha and your friends" and sang songs in appreciation of the support received.
Martha has chosen to name her kitchen in Malawi as 'Friends of NeverSeconds' in recognition of the worldwide support which she is receiving. Commenting on the amazing response to her blog, Martha said: "It's really good because it can feed lots of children for a long time.
"Calling the kitchen 'Friends of NeverSeconds' is important as it's a thank you to everyone who has supported me and Mary's Meals. Mary's Meals is a very simple charity and it can achieve so much with so very little."
In Malawi, Mary's Meals provides children with a daily mug of likuni phala, a nutritious type of porridge supplemented with additional vitamins and minerals, to fill their empty bellies and to attract them to the classroom where they can get an education which can lift them out of poverty in later life.
Gilbert Chigomere, a pupil at Lirangwe, is the same age as Martha -- just nine years old. He is an orphan who has no-one to look after him and he lives on the streets. Gilbert was motivated to come to school when Mary's Meals started feeding there, because he would no longer have to spend his days worrying about how he was going to eat.
Upon hearing about Martha's efforts, Gilbert said this morning: "Please say hello to Martha for me! I want to thank her for all of her hard work. I like the porridge because, after I eat it, I am active and can concentrate in class. It really helps me because it takes me a while to get hungry again."
Modesta Vincent, another Lirangwe pupil who is 13 years old, said: "I hope that Martha continues having such a kind heart, so that she -- and others like her -- can help us to continue having the porridge at school."
It costs Mary's Meals a global average of just £10.70 (€12.40/$16.80) to feed a hungry child for an entire school year. The charity provides a daily meal to over 650,000 kids every school day in 16 of the world's poorest countries, including Malawi, Liberia, Kenya, India and Haiti.
Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow, founder and chief executive of Mary's Meals said: "I am humbled by Martha and her friends. We feel extremely proud of them.
"Because of what they are doing, and all those generous people who are donating, the lives of thousands of the world's poorest children will be transformed. For every £10.70 donated, we are able to ensure another child will get a good daily meal for a whole school year.
"Many schools on waiting lists for Mary's Meals will soon get very good news! We refuse to accept that any child in this world of plenty must endure a day without a meal and it is so heartening to realise that so many people around the world share that vision."
To donate to Martha's appeal, please visit www.justgiving.com/neverseconds, or visit the Mary's Meals donation page.