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NHS Lanarkshire staff donate backpacks to Mary's Meals

Written by Scott Campbell.
Published at 15:10 GMT on Thursday, May 16th, 2013.

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STAFF at NHS Lanarkshire have gone all charitable; donating backpacks filled with educational materials for children in Africa, with some help from little Lily Craig. 

Ms Craig, who is two and half years old, assisted her mum’s colleagues at the Buchanan Centre in Coatbridge to collect over 50 backpacks filled with treats for children who have suffered war, poverty, famine, or natural disaster.

Since the collection, the bags – filled with exercise books, various stationery including pens, crayons, a towel, school clothes, soap, toothpaste, a toothbrush and a spoon - have been donated to the Mary’s Meals backpack project, which aims to send children to school to help them escape poverty in later life. 

Lily’s mum, Mirin, said: “We made up Lily’s bag together. In it, we have donated an outfit, flip flops, a drawing pad and pens, a tennis ball, a bowl and spoon and some toys.

“The backpack and the toys were actually hers and she decided that she wanted to give them. She knows that they will be going to a child who doesn’t have as much as her. She had a lot of fun making it.”

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Diane Kane, advanced specialist occupational therapist for NHS Lanarkshire, said: “The donations are from the staff who work in the eating disorder team and the secretarial staff at the Buchanan Centre. 

“There had been a Scottish parliament initiative to collect bags for Mary’s Meals. They collected 126 backpacks from MSPs and we wanted to contribute to that. I think we did a really good job to get over 50.”

The presentation of the bags to Mary’s Meals was attended by Elaine Smith, MSP for Coatbridge and Chryston. Elaine had encouraged MSPs to donate backpacks to Mary’s Meals after visiting office staff and volunteers in America. 

Mary’s Meals vision is that all those who have more than they need, share with those who lack even the most basic things, and that every child receives one daily meal in their place of education.

They have already delivered over 150,000 donated backpacks to Malawi, Liberia, Uganda and Romania to help the world’s poorest children to go to school and learn.

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