Lunches of Love will provide a free meal for 60 children. *File photo
Lunches of Love will provide a free meal for 60 children. *File photo

When Marica Burgess’ five-year-old daughter Alay asked for extra snacks in her lunchbox “for a friend” at school, she suspected her child might be being taken advantage of. 

After a little questioning, it became clear that Alay merely wanted to help a friend in need who never seemed to have many snacks to eat throughout the day. 

This kind deed has now grown into a charitable event launched by Alay and Marica called Lunches of Love that will provide a free meal for some 60 children on Alay’s 6th birthday on April 15.

“My heart was relieved,” said Marica. “I trusted my child’s word and it meant as much to me to make her friend’s day as it did to her.” 

Marica had not been aware that there were children in such need in Bermuda. “Later that week I had heard news of there being children right here in Bermuda who were being provided lunch from their teachers because they had no food to bring to school. I couldn’t believe it. I had seen campaigns on television about providing food for children in America but I never stopped to think that it could be an issue for any child here in
Bermuda.”

Brought up to have a compassionate heart, Alay told her mother: “Mommy, I really like to be kind and help people, you know. I want to help the whole world.” 

Marica said: “That’s when I suggested to her that she isn’t too young to start helping others. We talked about it and so many ideas came to mind. Finally we came up with the idea of giving other children a good healthy lunch and then I suggested we do this for her birthday since it would be so special to her. She was thrilled with the idea and for the first time it became clear to me that I could make a difference regardless of who I was. In light of me teaching my child the importance of compassion, she also made me feel like we could accomplish this goal together.”

Together they formed a plan with the assistance of the Coalition for The Protection of Children and Lunches of Love was launched. Children enrolled at the charity’s breakfast programme will be given free meals and the pair are looking to raise funds. Marica said: “I am so pleased to be able to give back in this way and show my child the importance of helping others. She has been so ambitious about this event that she went and created her own flyer.

"Not only do I wish to help others in this way but it is gratifying to be an example of the fact that even ordinary people can be a part of extraordinary things. I am a single parent but it did not take much of a sacrifice to help just one other child and put a smile upon their face. I believe we all could practise this more.” 

To donate to the cause transfer to: HSBC 010 411486 002.