U of G Aims to Fight Hunger, Set Second World Record

September 04, 2012 - News Release

How do you top a world record-setting event that engaged an entire community in helping to fight world hunger?

You do it all over again — and raise the bar even higher, of course.

That is what University of Guelph graduate student Gavin Armstrong has planned for Sept. 8. He hopes to see a couple of thousand people gather on Johnston Green at 1 p.m. and help beat last year’s world record for packing the most famine relief meals in an hour.

“More than 25,000 people die each day from hunger — more than tuberculosis, malaria and AIDS combined,” said Armstrong, a biomedical science PhD student who has worked to battle global hunger for six years.

“It’s difficult to even know where to start trying to help, especially for university students who are thinking: ‘I am just one person, how can I make a difference?’ We want to get the word out that, by volunteering for just one hour, people can affect the lives of more than 200,000 people.”

Armstrong led last year’s inaugural world record challenge at Guelph. That event attracted about 800 U of G members and Guelph residents and helped send 159,840 famine relief meals to schoolchildren in Haiti.

This year’s goal is to pack 200,000 emergency relief meals in just 60 minutes. The food will be shipped to the West African country of Mauritania, which has been affected by severe drought and is one of the poorest countries in the world.

ONEXONE, a Canadian charity, will be at the event to raise funds for its hunger alleviation programs in aboriginal communities.

The 2012 event — part of the University’s Better Planet Project — is also intended to raise awareness and engage students in emergency relief and hunger issues in Canada and around the world.

People can register as individuals or in teams. Prizes will be awarded for such categories as most team spirit and most meals packed.

Members of an assembly line will measure meal ingredients — rice, soy, beans and a vitamin packet — and fill and seal plastic bags.

You can register online now or Sept. 8 at noon. The University’s field house is the rain location.

Beyond that day, Armstrong hopes to involve other universities in packing one million meals by the end of 2013. Food for all of the events is made possible by the support of Kinross Gold Corp. Kinross has several ongoing corporate social responsibility efforts in Mauritania.

Armstrong helped bring the Universities Fighting World Hunger Summit to U of G in 2011 — the first time the event was held in Canada — and became the first Canadian recipient of the President William Jefferson Clinton Hunger Leadership Award.

“These emergency relief meals are vital but should not be considered a long-term solution,” said Armstrong. “I’d like to see famine eradicated. We must promote sustainable agriculture and research for the future.”


For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, 519-824-4120, Ext. 53338, or lhunt@uoguelph.ca, or Shiona Mackenzie, Ext. 56982, or shiona@uoguelph.ca.

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