Saturday, October 18, 2014

Mary's Meals T-Shirts

Many people have asked where they can the the awesome Mary's Meals T-Shirts. They are now available to order online and have shipped right to you!!!
You can order the shirts by visiting:

Monday, October 13, 2014

Ellen Miller in Malawi Africa

Ellen Miller the volunteer coordinator for  Mary's Meals in the Heartland is in Malawi Africa seeing the work of Mary's Meals first hand.

One of Ellens favorite memories from today was seeing the hundreds of children's faces, who are all smiling and in school because of Mary's Meals. 

Friday, September 26, 2014

Christ Our Life Conference 2014

Last weekend was the 2014 Christ Our Life Conference. The Christ Our Life Conference was where I first  heard about Mary's Meals. I was helping at the Mary's Meals booth and it was awesome getting to meet so many Mary's Meals supporters from around the Midwest.

Here are some photos from the conference:

  One of the conference highlights for me was getting to meet Alex and David Miller. Alex and her husband Mike live in Malawi, Africa. Mike is a finance officer for Mary's Meals. Their son David was born in June of this year.

I got to hold David for many hours. He is soooo sweet!
 Magnus spoke on Sat. during the lunch break. Before he spoke they show Child31 
(If you have not seen it I highly recommend you watch it)

  After Magnus spoke Alex and David came up on stage and Alex talked about what it is like to live in Malawi.

On Saturday evening they had a panel discussion with Magnus, Immaculee Ilibagiza and Tom Peterson.

Special thanks to Donna Miller for the photos!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

My friend Alex Miller wrote an article about me on her blog. Alex and her husband Mike are living in Malawi, Africa. Mike is a finance officer for Mary's Meals.

You can read the article here.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Martha and Mary Catholic Woman's Conference 2014

Last weekend, Mom, Ellen Miller and I attend the Martha and Mary Catholic Woman's Conference in Dubuque, Iowa. We sold about 30 Mary's Meals T-Shirts. (That equals 30 more children who will receive Mary's Meals everyday at school!!!)

                                          Ellen and I talking to someone about Mary's Meals.
                                                              Go Mary's Meals!!!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Blog Swap with Teens for Mary's Meals

I recently heard about an awesome group called Teens for Mary's Meals. We decided to do a "blog swap", where we each complete an interview for each others blog. Here is my interview on their blog. 
From L To R: Bella Darke, Franee Barthel, Angela Penza, Patty Decker (Mary's Meals USA), Brianna Doyle and Kalina Burns
What is Teens for Mary’s Meals? How did you get started? Who’s idea was it?
Teens for Mary's Meals is a fundraising group of high schoolers in Santa Barbara, California that consists of Kalina Burns, Franee Barthel, Bella Darke, Brianna Doyle, and Angela Penza. It got started in April of 2013 when Kalina and Angela first saw the Mary's Meals documentary Child 31 at their church youth group. Immediately they told their friends about Mary's Meals and the five of them had their first 'Teens for Mary's Meals' meeting at lunch in their math teacher's classroom.

Did you all know each other before started TFMM’s?
Before we started fundraising together, we all knew each other from school and sports and were all relatively good friends. However, through the constant working together and sharing in joy and prayer, we've become an inseparable group.

What has been your biggest fundraiser?
So far the largest fundraising event we've done has been at our Church's confirmation sponsor night. With over 500 people in attendance, we started off the night with a screening of Child 31, followed by a talk from the amazing Patty Decker, and lastly we showed our short YouTube video and each member of our group gave a short testimonial. We received more donations than we ever expected and our Holy Mother's intervention was so obvious and amazing!

Share a little bit about yourself:

 Franee - I was born in Germany and moved to America when I was 2. I am a Sophomore in High School and I love to play soccer, eat Nutella, and spend time with my brothers. I love meeting new people and going on adventures with my friends.

Kalina - I like to spend my time doing hot yoga and hanging out with my two wonderful beautiful dogs.

Bella -
When I'm not outside working in my garden, you'll find me watercoloring in my sketchbook or lost in a wonderful novel. I love to volunteer at the Dream Foundation, a non profit started in town, and have been involved with them for over 6 years.

Brianna - I love to play soccer, stroke my fluffy kitties, draw in my sketchbook, and eat delicious foods.

Angela-  Fundraising for Mary's Meals has become one of the best parts of my life, but besides that I like to spend time outdoors, knit, watch Sherlock, and I hope to travel all over the world during my life.

How much have you raised so far?

As of Jan 21st 2014 we have raised around $25,665

What are your future goals for Teens for Mary’s Meals?
Right now we are headed toward a goal of $31,000 which will fund the completion of 2 school kitchens and a feeding program. Once we reach our current goal, hopefully we will also be able to raise enough for a second feeding program. Despite the numbers, our long term goal is really just to raise as much money for Mary's Meals as we can before we separate and go to college.

How has your experience bolstered your faith in Christ and His plan for us?
In many ways, this experience has brought the five of us together through the goal of serving God. It has also opened our eyes to the mysterious and amazing ways that the Holy Spirit has been working in our lives. There have been awestruck "mountain-top" moments where we have felt the love of God and the Blessed Mother, but there have also been moments where we lose sight of His plan for us. In those moments, we have struggled with humility and maintaining our prayer lives. In all, despite the ups and downs, we will always have something tying us together as friends and holding us close to Christ. It has been a blessing that Mary's Meals came into our lives, because it has changed them forever!

Do you have any tips for people who want to get involved with fundraising for any charity? (not just Mary’s Meals)
We would encourage anyone interested in fundraising to find a group of friends that will support you. It's always easier to do things when you're not alone. Also, get in touch with the charity you are fundraising for and make sure they know who you are. We luckily developed a great relationship with the Mary's Meals coordinator, Patty Decker, and she has been such great help to us. Besides your friends, make sure that your family knows about your ambitions (we sent out over 100 letters to friends and family, leading to lots of support and donations). If you are affiliated with a church, get in touch with your priest or youth minister and see how you can spread the word through your faith. Overall, we've learned that making connections with people is the most important part of fundraising. 

Friday, January 3, 2014

Can you Help???

I only need $3,631 more to build another kitchen.

Here is what you do:
Go the
Go to the donations page you will see a something that looks like this:

Go to the tab that under fundraising groups
Select "Allison's Malawi/IA kitchen

Your donation will go towards my feeding/kitchen goals

If you have any questions let me know in the comments

Your donation will help change a lot of lives!!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Child 31 - The story of Mary's Meals

Yesterday, (November 10th) was Mary's Meals day in Glasgow. They also released Child31 online. 

After you watch it let me know what you thought! 

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Iowa City Catholic Woman's Conference

Today I spent the day at the Iowa City Catholic Woman's Conference. I had a booth for Mary's Meals. I also sold some Mary's Meals t-shirts.
Here are some pictures:

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Heart of the Matter

Here is a letter written by Magnus the founder of Mary's Meals after his recent trip to Iowa:

Last week I visited Iowa, one of my favorite places in the world.
I was there to speak at the World Hunger Summit and it was wonderful to be able to share the story of Mary’s Meals with over 700 people at the Hunger Lunch in Des Moines.
I felt privileged to meet some very distinguished people and great humanitarians, but the highlight for me that day was meeting hundreds of high school kids who had travelled from all over Iowa, many wearing Mary’s Meals T-shirts, to learn more about the charity they love.
Whilst in Des Moines my dear friends there organised an evening event in a parish church for supporters of our work. They told me they hoped that 75 people might attend and couldn’t believe it when over 200 enthusiastic people, some sitting on the floor, turned up on this week day evening to hear the latest updates.
And then the next morning I had an ever bigger treat when I called into St Theresa’s primary school, who have sponsored the building of a kitchen in Malawi (one of 21 kitchens that have now been sponsored by groups in Iowa so far!!), to find that every single pupil was wearing a Mary’s Meals shirt for the day.
I was so moved to meet those happy, excited children and their incredible teachers and to be able to share a little with them about how their kindness has changed the lives of so many hungry children. At the end of my talk I was starting to say to the children ‘please, please say prayers for Mary’s Meals …’ when I noticed the teachers laughing and pointing behind me.
I turned to see two pupils carrying the most enormous envelope on which was written ‘Prayers for Mary’s Meals’. They gave this to me explaining that each child had written their own prayer.
It seems so appropriate to me that this part of America is known as the ‘Heartland’ while Malawi is proud to be called the ‘Warm Heart of Africa’. Both places are home to people with enormous hearts who are always ready to share with those less fortunate – and both know how to do so with joy!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Mike and Alexandra Miller

As many of you know Mike and Alex Miller from Indianola, (Iowa) are working for Mary's Meals in Malawi. If you would like to read her blog visit:

Thursday, October 17, 2013

St. Theresa School Rally for Mary's Meals

On Monday (the 16th) went spend part of the with Magnus, Patty Decker (MM USA), Andrea Dale (MM executive director), Ellen Miller, and Marylin Lane.

From L to R: Andrea, Mom (Pam), Me, Magnus, Marylin, Ellen and Patty.

St. Theresa School in Des Moines hosted a rally for Mary's Meals. It was fun!

Joseph introducing Magnus
All of the children were very attentive

Magnus speaking

In the past few days the students of St. Theresa School had been collecting money for Mary's Meals. They collected over $700 dollars!

Presenting the check to Magnus

These two (cute) little students gave Magnus a gift from the school

School-wide picture with Magnus!

Joseph with his parents, sister and Magnus. Joseph was inspired by hearing Magnus at the Christ Our Life Conference last year. He (and his school) have raised over $17,000 for Mary's Meals!

Magnus, Ellen and Ellen's niece Rea

Magnus and I

Iowa Hunger Summit 2013

On Tuesday, October 15th Mom and I spent the day at the Iowa Hunger Summit in Des Moines Iowa.  Magnus (the founder of Mary's Meals) was the keynote speaker for the Iowa Hunger Summit Luncheon.  We also went to a talk that Magnus gave at St. Pius X Catholic Church in Urbandale, Iowa.

Magnus gave a ~30 minute talk and then answered questions from the crowd.

There was about 215 people who came to hear Magnus.

(These pictures are from Magnus' talk at St. Pius X)

Monday, September 9, 2013

Save the Date!!

Hello friends-

Please join me to meet …

Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow, founder of Mary’s Meals!  (He is coming to the Des Moines area from his home in Scotland.)

When:  6:30 pm, Tuesday, October 15th 2013

Where: St. Pius X Church on 66th and Douglas in Urbandale, Iowa (near Merle Hay Mall) - Mary and Martha Social Room - Please use south entrance doors

My friend, Ellen Miller’s son works for Mary’s Meals in Africa.  Magnus and the Mary's Meals team are grateful to Iowans, who have become such a big part of Mary's Meals mission. Mary’s Meals is now feeding 792,621children a day at their place of education at a global average cost of $16.80 per child for a FULL YEAR!  Magnus was invited to the Vatican this past June to talk with Pope Francis.

Please pass the word about this wonderful  man and his mission!  He was selected as one of CNN’s Top 10 HEROES in 2010.  Watch the video to find out more about  him.  Consider using email, Facebook, phone calls and your church bulletin to invite your family and friends to join Magnus and learn more about how Mary's Meals is Christ's hands and heart throughout the world.

Let me know if you are planning on attending!! 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

BBC Live 5 Radio Interview Tomorow

Yesterday I got a email  from Mary’s Meals in Scotland asking if I would do an interview with BBC Live 5 radio.

After a few emails, I talked on the phone with the producer of the radio program.  I will have my live interview at about 6:35AM Iowa time on this Friday January 10th 2013 (tomorrow).  The interview will be about my fundraising for Mary’s Meals.  They will archive the program and it should be available online for about 7 days.

I will be interviewed by a Shelagh Fogarty. She will also be interviewing Charlie Doherty and Magnus McFarlane-Barrow.

Please pray for me as I do this interview as this is the most listened to Radio in the United Kingdom, with 35 million listeners per week.

Friday, December 28, 2012

A Belated Merry Christmas!!!

I want to wish everyone a belated Merry Christmas!!! and a early Happy New Year!!!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

How do donate to Mary's Meals online

Some people have asked me how they can donate to my Mary's Meals fundraising online.

here is what you do:
Go the
Go to the donations page you will see a something that looks like this:

Go to the tab that under fundraising groups
Select "Allison's Malawi/IA kitchen
Your donation will go towards my feeding/kitchen goals

If you have any questions let me know in the comments


Monday, November 5, 2012

Our premiere of Child 31

Last night (Nov. 4th) we hosted a premiere screening of Child 31
We had 20 attend including our family of 5.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

CHILD 31 Screening

A screening of a powerful new documentary film about the work of international charity Mary’s Meals is being held at our house.

The screening at our house is one of over 300 being planned by people all over the world, who are taking part in events to share the film Child 31, the story of Mary’s Meals.

Americans are joining enthusiastic supporters in countries around the globe, from the UK where Mary’s Meals is based, all the way to the Philippines.  In the US, from NY to California,  volunteers are hosting screenings of Child 31 with events set for Florida, Illinois, Iowa, North Carolina, Texas and more.

Child 31 is the latest project for award-winning Brooklyn-based production company, Grassroots Films, who visited the charity’s projects in Malawi, India and Kenya to see its life-changing work in action.

Mary’s Meals feeds over 650,000 children a meal every day in school in some of the world’s most impoverished regions where hunger and poverty can prevent them from getting an education.

Featuring stories about the work of the charity, Child 31 is a captivating, uplifting and inspiring viewing experience that focuses on the difference just one meal every school day can make to children living in extreme poverty.

The film tells the stories of children like Lette who, at the age of 12, has the sole responsibility for looking after her family and Muksi who lived on a rubbish dump alongside other orphans in Kenya before starting at a school where Mary’s Meals is served.

Commenting on the film, Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow, chief executive of Mary’s Meals, says: “Child 31 tells the story of Mary’s Meals through the eyes of children – children who benefit from receiving Mary’s Meals and children who fundraise on our behalf.

“All over the world, there are people who will not accept that any child in this world of plenty must endure a day without a meal.

“As a result of their good deeds, thousands of children, who would otherwise be hungry and working for their next meal, are instead sitting in a classroom with a full stomach, learning how to read and write.”

The local screening will be held on Sunday November 4th It will start at 6:30PM 

You can contact me :Allison Ockenfels. (319) 646-6583
RSVP is appreciated but not required.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Christ Our Life Conference 2012

Last weekend our family attended the 2012 Christ Our Life Conference in Des Moines Iowa.
I got to help at the Mary's Meals table.

Here are some pictures:
                                                The Mary's Meals mug my brother made
                                                          The Mary's Meals table
Magnus (the founder of Mary's Meals) with relatives of Ellen Miller (one of the co-chairs of the conference.

                                                       One of the Mary's Meals T-Shirts
                                                        Magnus speaking on Sunday
                                                                       Magnus and I

                                 Patty Decker (who is the Mary's Meals USA coordinator) and I 
                                         I had the privilege of meeting Immaculee Ilibagiza 
                                         Immaculee survived the Rwandan genocide