Never Seconds raises over £100,000

I’m going to have to break cover about my latest anorak addiction.  It’s nine year old Martha Payne (and probably her dad, Dave).

So, there’s this blog, right, which I think is actually a collaboration, but is the words of Martha, initially under the screen name of ‘VEG’.  Her blog is called Never Seconds.

The premise is very simple.  Each day Martha would take a picture of her school dinner, upload it and give it a rating.  That’s it.

(A meal BEFORE the blog became known to the school)

Normally blogs like this go extremely unnoticed.

For this particular blog something most odd happened. Something unfolded in sorta real time that could be screen-written into a really perfect feel-good movie or documentary.  I hope it does.

In short, the blog became like a soap opera.  It went viral and got mainstream news media attention.  It attracted some rather harsh headlines about those providing the school meals, support from the likes of Jamie Oliver, and Martha was unceremoniously banned from taking photos. Then she was allowed to take them again.  The local council leader met with her dad, and a woman was posted in the school dining hall to examine her plate every day.

(A meal AFTER the blog became known to the school)

There, I think that just about sums it all up.

Oh, apart from the main thing.  Literally millions of people started visiting her blog and donating to Martha’s favourite charity project called Mary’s Meals.

Mary’s Meals provide school meals for children in very poor countries where they would otherwise starve. Just £10 can buy a school child a meal a day for a year.

As the story of Martha’s blog spread around the world, more people came and more people donated.  One person even donated £3,000!  Please take a look at Martha’s donation page here and consider giving if you can.

Back at Martha’s blog, a fascinating compare and contrast started with pictures of school meals coming in from around the world, each with their own ratings and descriptions.  This alone made intriguing reading.  Yet the comments following each day’s post carried some of the most inspirational contributions I think I have ever read.  Indeed, the post from the day poor Martha was banned from taking photos has over 2,300 comments.

I know this will all quieten down.  I know it is also about being in the right place at the right time, and it has a little bit of extremely advantageous choreographing and a tiny bit of bandwagon jumping, but for now this is a daily must-see for me.  I hope you will also take a good look over it.

This very simple blog has brought to the public attention not only the state of school meals in Britain (well, in Scotland) and an awareness of school meals in other countries, but the plight of the starving children around the world who have absolutely nothing to eat at school or when they get home.

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