Community Helps Make Hunger Event a Success

September 07, 2013 - Campus Bulletin

About 1,600 people took part in the third annual World Record Event to Fight Hunger at the University of Guelph Saturday, packaging more than 659,000 emergency relief meals in two hours.

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.

The event — part of the University’s Better Planet Project — attracted people of all ages, including Guelph Mayor Karen Farbridge and Guelph MP Frank Valeriote. It was also an official Orientation Week event, involving new U of G students.

Scores of people gathered in the Gryphon Field House at 10 a.m. and formed “assembly lines” to measure and package the meals. Each meal consists of five ingredients — rice, soy, vegetables, beans and a vitamin packet.

"I am astonished that so many members of the U of G and greater Guelph community came together again and exceeded a target that was already incredibly daunting,” said Gavin Armstrong, a biomedical science PhD student who organized the event.

“I hope everyone who participated feels proud that in one year they packaged one million emergency relief meals for Mauritania.”

Armstrong started the world record challenge in 2011 as a way to help raise awareness and engage students to deal with emergency relief and hunger in a permanent and lasting way. “More than 25,000 people die each day from hunger — more than tuberculosis, malaria and AIDS combined,” he said.

The inaugural event attracted about 800 people and helped send 159,840 famine relief meals to schoolchildren in Haiti. It was expanded in 2012, with more than 315,000 emergency relief meals packed in one hour.

This year, the time was doubled in an attempt to meet Armstrong’s goal of packaging one million emergency meals over the course of a year.

Food for the annual event is made possible by the support of Kinross Gold Corp.

University of Guelph
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Guelph, Ontario, N1G 2W1