Central College News

Entrepreneur and international philanthropist visits Central

September 11, 2012

Magnus McFarlene-Barrow, founder of Mary’s Meals, will speak about his organization and helping those in need Sept. 20 at 6:30 p.m. in the Graham Conference Center.

Mary’s Meals began as Scottish International Relief (SIR), which became a charity in 1993 after Magnus and his brother, Fergus MacFarlane-Barrow, watched the Bosnian conflict unfold on television. Moved by the horrors they saw, the brothers appealed for blankets and food and joined a convoy headed to Bosnia and Herzegovina.

After returning to Scotland and discovering a flood of donations for the cause, Magnus gave up his job for a year to deliver and collect supplies. Magnus continued to dedicate much of his time to the charity, and in 2002, SIR started the Mary’s Meals campaign—a movement that gives children in poverty one meal a day at school.

Wade Steenhoek, director of the Martin Heerema Entrepreneurship Program at Central, is excited to welcome Magnus to campus in hopes that students will learn about his savvy business skills. “Magnus has a great story that demonstrates a fundamental tenet of entrepreneurship: creative problem-solving,” Steenhoek said. “An entrepreneurial spirit allows Magnus to see problems as opportunities and turn ideas into action. This mindset can solve worldwide problems such as hunger and illiteracy.”

As of December 2011, Mary’s Meals feeds over 650,000 children in 16 countries around the world. In 2012, the charity officially changed its name to Mary’s Meals as it continues to expand to other countries.

“Magnus’s story is inspirational and reminds all of us that solving a global problem starts with a single individual and a simple but powerful idea,” Steenhoek said. “With resolve and a vision, we truly can accomplish great things.”

The event is free and open to the public.