Longford butcher Louis Herterich with his son Rudy during a previous trip to Medjugorje
A Longford businessman is lacing up his runners this weekend as part of a novel fundraiser aimed at providing a nutritious meal to scores of impoverished children in their place of education.
Louis Herterich is encouraging locals to row in behind a Mary's Meals virtual fundraising walk this week which is designed to rack up some 245km over the course of just nine days.
Owing to enforced Covid-19 restrictions, the group's annual walk to Knock cannot take place this year, though Louis and fellow organisers are encouraging people to undertake a virtual alternative within their own communities to raise much needed funds for the charity.
“It’s really to provide a meal, each day and school day in a place of education,” said Louis.
“The enrolment rates in schools that offer a meal rise by 40 to 50 per cent and that meal is given to the children fairly early on in the day and is cooked by the parents.
“What it means is the children are happier and able to absorb the education that the teachers are imparting to them with the idea that education is the road out of poverty and oppression.
“We provide the raw materials to make the meal, the parents in the school volunteer to cook the food and also we encourage each school to have a school garden and to grow as many of the ingredients as they possibly can themselves.”
Louis said his involvement with the body only came about last June following an impromptu and spiritual intervention during a trip to Spain.
“It happened when I was in a church in Acrunia in Spain while doing the Camino Walk,” he recalled. “A voice just said to me: ‘Louis, are you not going to help me feed the children?’ I went all goosebumps at the time. But it was when I arrived back the first day back at work there was a handwritten letter waiting for me from Kitty Ross saying ‘Louis, we really need your help’. That was it for me after that and I have been committed to the project ever since.”
To play your part in Mary's Meals, sponsorship cards can be obtained by calling into Herterich Butchers, Ballymahon Street and for more information on the charity itself, log onto marysmeals.ie