A new survey by Mary’s Meals has revealed that people would rather have their Christmas dinner cooked by their mum than a celebrity chef.


The global school feeding charity asked 2,000 people who they would prefer to serve up their festive feast. It found that:

  • Almost half (46%) of respondents chose a family member rather than a famous chef – such as Jamie Oliver, Delia Smith, Gordon Ramsay and Nigella Lawson.
  • One in three people (36%) said they would prefer their mum to cook their Christmas dinner over other family members.
  • In the North West mums were significantly more popular than partners to cook the festive feast, with 46% choosing their mums and only 26% choosing their partners.

Mary’s Meals serves more than two million children with a nutritious meal every school day in 19 of the world’s poorest countries, including Malawi, South Sudan and Haiti. The promise of a good meal attracts children to the classroom, giving them the energy and opportunity to learn, and the chance of a brighter future.

Each December the charity holds a virtual Christmas dinner, Big Family Christmas, to raise funds to feed even more hungry children. Last year, nearly 9,000 people around the world took part in the fundraiser.

Emma Hutton, head of grassroots engagement at Mary’s Meals, says: “Tis the season to be jolly, and it seems nothing makes us jollier than a home-cooked Christmas meal. At Mary’s Meals, we want to spread that joy to as many of the world’s most impoverished children as possible.

“Setting a place at our virtual table is a great way to give a truly life-changing gift, especially as each place set this Christmas will feed two children for an entire year thanks to our Double The Love campaign. I look forward to seeing as many names at the table as possible as we celebrate our Big Family Christmas!”

In return for a donation of just £15.90, enough to feed a child with Mary’s Meals for a whole school year, people can take part in the Big Family Christmas. Donors will receive a certificate to print at home and their name, or the name of a loved one, will appear on the charity’s virtual dinner table alongside names from across the world.

Donations made to Mary’s Meals before 31 January 2022 will be matched by a group of generous supporters, up to £1.6 million, thanks to the Double The Love campaign, meaning that each place set at the online Christmas table will feed two hungry children.

To find out more, please visit marysmeals.org.uk/Christmas

Yasimini from Malawi

Reaching children in Malawi

Mary’s Meals typically serves a mug of porridge to more than one million children in Malawi every school day.

This includes children like 14-year-old Yasimini, who is one of five girls. Her two older sisters were married young, but Yasimini was able to continue with her studies because of Mary’s Meals.

She says: “I work very hard in class so I can fulfill my dream of becoming a nurse. I don’t want to end up getting married early like my sisters.”

“Mary’s Meals is very important because when I am attending classes I am strong and attentive and I can pay attention to what the teacher is teaching. This will help me to do well in my studies.”