Meet the Man That Feeds 1 Million Children a Year From a Small Tin Shed

You never know what event is going to trigger somebody to step into action and take the steps necessary to make a difference. For Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow it was a trip to Malwai in 2002 that led him to found Mary’s Meals, an organization that has grown to provide a million children a day with a hot meal.

Everyday in 12 countries around the globe from Haiti to Thailand parents line up in the morning to give their children a hot bowl of oatmeal for breakfast provided by MacFarlane-Barrow’s charitable organization that started in a small tin shed on his father’s Scottish fish farm. In 2010 when the former salmon farm was recognized by CNN as a Top 10 hero his organization was providing around 40,000 children a day with a meal, and its grown significantly since then. “It’s a mind-boggling number,” said MacFarlane-Barrow. “It’s something we never could have imagined.”


Earlier this month, when the organization hit the one million mark they had a celebration in a small village in Malawi with children and teachers coming together to sing in dance. And while a small bowl of oatmeal might not seem like a huge thing to most of us, McFarlane-Barrow points out what a huge impact it can have on the life of a child who may not know where their next meal is coming from.

“One cup of porridge does a lot of different things. It brings many children into school, who never went to school before. In addition, many children who were going to school hungry, they start to learn. Their health improves. And then we see amazing results with academic performance.”

McFarlane-Barrow said he felt the call to do something after meeting a family that seemed like they were on their last leg, with the father having passed away, the mother dying, and six children without aid. He spoke with a 14-year-old who said that all he wanted was some food everyday and a chance to go to school. That request was enough to get the ball for Mary’s Meals rolling. Through a donation of $19.50, the organization is able to feed a child for an entire school year. And while reaching the 1,000,000 milestone is an accomplishment, no doubt, it’s not mission accomplished for McFarlane-Barrow. “If we are feeding 1 million children, why are there another 57 million children hungry and out of school? So that’s why we’ve celebrated it as the first million, because sadly, it’s not job done.” There are a lot more children who need help getting food and Mary’s Meals is dedicated to reaching as many as possible.

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