U of G Doubles Time, Effort to Fight World Hunger

September 01, 2013 - News Release

It will be double the time and effort at the third annual World Record Event to Fight Hunger at the University of Guelph Sept. 7. The Saturday-morning event will last two hours this year, with a goal of packaging 685,000 emergency relief meals to send to Mauritania, West Africa.

At least 2,000 members of the University and greater Guelph community are needed to come together to make it happen, said organizer Gavin Armstrong, a biomedical sciences PhD student. “Last year, we set the goal of packaging one million emergency meals over the course of a year, so we have doubled the time to help make that happen.

“More than 25,000 people die each day from hunger — more than tuberculosis, malaria and AIDS combined,” he said.

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. The inaugural event attracted about 800 people and helped send 159,840 famine relief meals to schoolchildren in Haiti.

The event was expanded in 2012, moving to the Gryphon Field House and involving some 2,000 students, staff, faculty and members of the Guelph community. More than 315,000 emergency relief meals were packed in one hour that year.

“We hope to see even more people from our community taking part this year,” said Armstrong. “It’s amazing what an impact you can have in other people’s lives by working together for just a couple of hours. It makes a significant difference in the lives of hundreds of thousands of people.”

The event is part of the University’s BetterPlanet Project and is also an official Orientation Week event, involving new U of G students.

This year, the food will once again be shipped to Mauritania, which has been affected by severe drought and is one of the poorest countries in the world.

People are asked to register for the event in advance and then gather at the University’s new Field House at 9:30 a.m. for instructions, training and welcome remarks. People can register as individuals or in teams. Additional information is available online.

At the event, volunteers will form assembly lines to measure and package the meals. Each meal will include five ingredients — rice, soy, vegetables, beans and a vitamin packet. They’ll be sealed in a plastic bag with the University’s BetterPlanet Project logo and cooking instructions printed on the outside.

Food for the annual event is made possible by the support of Kinross Gold Corp. Kinross has several ongoing corporate social responsibility efforts in Mauritania. ONEXONE, a Canadian charity, will also be at the event to promote its hunger alleviation programs in aboriginal communities.

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, 519-824-4120, Ext. 53338, or lhunt@uoguelph.ca; or Kevin Gonsalves, Ext. 56982, or kgonsalves@uoguelph.ca.

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