Mary's Meals wins support from Southampton FC after owner spots name link
Southampton are to donate a percentage of their match-day income over the festive period to Scottish charity Mary's Meals.
The charity began by feeding just 200 youngsters in Malawi in 2002 but now provides daily meals for over one million young people in 12 countries across four continents.
It aims to encourage children - who may otherwise be forced to work, beg or forage for food - to go to school, where they can receive a meal that helps them focus on their studies.
Southampton owner Katharina Liebherr first read about the charity - which started in a garden shed in Argyll - in a newspaper and was intrigued by its name as the club play at St Mary's Stadium.
She was so impressed by the charity's work that she decided to offer support from the club.
The team will bear the Mary's Meals logo on match-day training tops for the rest of the season and a fundraising drive will take place at this weekend's game against Aston Villa, as well as at two further matches in December against Tottenham and Arsenal.
Southampton said they will include a percentage of funds from retail, food and programme sales.
Charity founder Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow said: "I'm so moved that Katharina took the time to read about Mary's Meals and that she has been so impressed by our work to have made us the club's official international charity partner.
"This is fantastic news for Mary's Meals and another step in introducing us to new supporters to help us feed more chronically hungry children across the world."
Southampton chairman Ralph Krueger said: "As a club we entertain thousands of people on a regular basis and we feel we have a responsibility. Not only can we support Mary's Meals to help strengthen their financial situation, but more than that we can offer our time.
"If we can help Mary's Meals grow as a name and a brand around the UK and around the world, then that is the biggest gift we can give to them.
"When you hear that £12.20 can feed a child for an entire school year with Mary's Meals, how can you not want to become a part of that?"
Mary's Meals said a ll money donated between now and December 28 will be matched by the UK Government, helping it reach more young people.