U of G Sets World Record, Helps Fight Global Hunger

September 09, 2012 - News Release

About 2,000 members of the University of Guelph and greater Guelph community set a world record Saturday, packaging more than 315,000 emergency relief meals in one hour.

"That's 115,000 meals over our goal," Gavin Armstrong, a biomedical science PhD student who organized the event, told the crowd.

“By being here today, you’ve made a significant difference in the lives of hundreds of thousands of people.”

The event — part of the University’s Better Planet Project — attracted people of all ages. It was the first in a series of activities Armstrong has planned to help raise awareness and engage students to deal with emergency relief and hunger in a permanent and lasting way.

Scores of people gathered in the University’s new Field House at 1 p.m. and formed “assembly lines” to measure and package the meals. Each meal included five ingredients — rice, soy, vegetables, beans and a vitamin packet — that were sealed in a plastic bag with the University’s BetterPlanet Project logo and cooking instructions printed on the outside.

“It's amazing what an impact you can have in other people’s lives by working together for just one hour," said Armstrong.

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.

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.

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

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

Armstrong led last year’s inaugural world record challenge at Guelph, which helped send 159,840 famine relief meals to schoolchildren in Haiti. He also 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.

Now his goal is to involve other universities in packing one million meals by the end of 2013.

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

University of Guelph
50 Stone Road East
Guelph, Ontario, N1G 2W1