Throughout all areas of life, the world has experience fundamental changes and in some cases a sudden stop to services. However, many activities adapted including some of the roles our student volunteers are involved in. DaEun Kang (MSc in Local Economic Development, 2020) was volunteering as a fundraiser with Mary’s Meals but her role quickly turned into research as the year went on.
As I started my year in London for the master’s programme, I wrote down my bucket list in London. In that list, ‘colourful experiences’ was on the top of the list, higher than ‘good grades’.
Since 2014, I started making donations to charities working for the eradication of poverty in various parts of the world. I have always wanted to have volunteer experience in charities, and my dream has come true after I saw the booth of Mary’s Meals at the Volunteer Fair in LSE.
The first impression of Mary’s Meals was exceptionally friendly and cheerful. Everyone in the booth was wearing a sky-blue coloured t-shirt with jeans with bright smiley faces, sharing their personal experiences in Mary’s Meals and talked to me without any emotional barriers. After a short while, we started brainstorming the next fundraising ideas! The positivity and high-energy is palpable. We shared contact details on-site, and I started right away.
Mary’s Meals was such an open, welcoming organisation, giving out a great deal of room for students to participate in every way they would like to and have as much freedom as possible, giving out support and cheers. With Katherine Barr as a leader, who is the kindest and most considerate person possible, students in LSE and UCL started a joint group and started planning various fundraising events.
Sadly, due to the pandemic, the fundraising event on-site was cancelled, however, from April as I moved back to South Korea, I was given a valuable opportunity to keep on volunteering as a remote researcher position. 2-3 hours per day or during my spare time I worked on various tasks. I researched the relevant information on selected groups and organisations in London and South East area, recorded the research and formulated the development information into an organised plan, and dealt with general administrative tasks. I am still working as a key research volunteer on Mary’s Meals groups and associations outreach project for the London and South East area, and this helps Mary’s Meals to collaborate with different groups and reach out to more people, expanding meaningful connections. Joining the every-week Tuesday zoom meetings and being explained why the task I am working on is necessary and how it will be used for the organization. I felt rewarded and attached to the team, which made me want to work harder.
Mary’s Meals operates transparently and fairly in 19 different countries, intending to provide 1 meal a day for children in their place of education. For every £1 of fundraising, 93 pence is spent directly on the charitable activities. With the realistic goal of providing at least one meal a day so that children in poverty can go to school without spending time getting food, building
sustainable development of their life. Every act of generosity facilitated through Mary’s Meals becomes a firm foundation that lights up the future of children in poverty.
Being a part of Mary’s Meals is an extremely valuable experience for me since I always dreamt of working in the charity and do humanitarian work. I thank Mary’s Meals by giving me this chance and my volunteering teams for great support and consideration. Teamwork, self-direction, enthusiasm and feeling of reward are the valuable assets I earnt by working for Mary’s Meals. My volunteering experience with Mary’s Meals is a tremendously important part of my year in London, and also, my life.
If DaEun has inspired you to volunteer, find out more about volunteering with Mary’s Meals here or check out one of our other ongoing opportunities You can also book a one-to-one with David Coles, the Volunteer Centre Manager if you have more questions. And why not follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to stay up-to-date with our events and opportunities and read our blog for more volunteering tips and stories.