Martha from Scotland was so fed up with her unsatisfying school lunches that she started to take pictures of her food and post them on the internet. While her blog, Never Seconds, started off small enough, her project seemed to strike a nerve, and she soon got the attention of kids, parents and even school administrators.
Soon enough, students from all over the world were writing in to share their stories and pictures. Ever wonder what school lunches look like in the Czech Republic? Or Japan? While some school lunches are a bit gross, others are tasty works of art.
Why this Student Spoke Out
Embarrassed by the negative publicity Martha's pictures were bringing to the school disctrict, school administrators temporarily banned Martha from taking pictures of her food.
NewsHour Extra talked to Martha about her experience writing the blog, and how she's turned her writing into money for charity.
A proud lunchlady from Barcelona, Spain submitted this photo of a lunch she served to her school's students. It contains fusilis with tomato sauce and cheese, with a side course of deep-fried fillet of pangassius and salad.
What is the most satisfying moment you’ve had come out of your
blogging experience? What is the most exciting?
When I realized my blog had raised enough money to build a kitchen in Malawi I was really happy. Now my blog has built a kitchen, I called it Friends of NeverSeconds kitchen, and feeds 12,000 children for a year. Most exciting was meeting the children in Malawi who sing very loudly.
Now that I'm home, I've met [chef] Jamie Oliver on live TV and also just met Rowan Atkinson because he recently gave me a Human Rights Award.
Martha meets actors Benedict Cumberbatch (L) and Rowan Atkinson (R) after receiving the award for Human Rights Young Person of the Year at the Liberty Awards in London.
You recently wrote a book for charity; can you tell me a little bit about it and the the other charity work you do?
With my friends we made a club called Charity Children. Two years ago we raised £160 ($258) for Mary's Meals, a program that sets up school meal programs communities where poverty and hunger prevent children from gaining an education, by selling felt-covered soaps.
Students from the Czech Republic took these photos of their lunch of goulash soup with meat and potatoes, and potato rolls with sugar and poppy seeds. They report that while the Czech meals are tasty, they aren't always healthy.
My blog gets a lot of hits so I talked about Mary's Meals on my blog. Readers wanted to help so I set up a page and when the council banned my blog people were very generous and I have raised over £123,000 ($198,000) so far.
This lunch from Finland contains sausage and veggie soup with rye bread, cheese, cucumber and milk.
Every book sale provides 25 meals to Malawi. The BBC made a documentary about the blog and our trip to Malawi.
You can watch the BBC program about Martha below:
What is the worst meal that you’ve seen, or has been sent in? Why is it the worst?
The worst I have seen was from Scotland and it was a pie and 4 chips. There were no vegetables or salad or fruit. I think it’s sad that children can't show pictures to their parents of their lunches because people don't think the food is that bad.
Ian from San Diego wrote in about this less-than-satisfying lunch of chicken nuggets, canned peaches and orange slices.
Martha and her family have just published a book about their experiences. You can find the book here.