U of G Sets World Record, Helps Fight Hunger

September 17, 2011 - Campus Bulletin

About 800 members of the University of Guelph and greater Guelph community set a world record Saturday, packaging 159,840 famine relief meals in one hour.

"That's almost 10,000 over our goal," said organizer Gavin Armstrong, a U of G graduate student.

The event, which attracted people of all ages, was the first in a series of activities the University is endorsing to help raise awareness and engage students to deal with emergency relief and hunger in a permanent and lasting way.

Hundreds of people gathered at Johnston Green shortly before 2 p.m. and formed “assembly lines” to measure and package the meals. Each meal included four ingredients — rice, soy, 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.

ONEXONE, a Canadian charity, will manage the transport and distribution of the food, which will be given to schoolchildren in Haiti.

Armstrong and Tania Framst, an executive assistant in the U of G president’s office, organized the event to continue the momentum of the successful Universities Fighting World Hunger summit hosted by U of G last year. The cost was covered by the sponsors of the hunger summit.

“It’s amazing that just one hour of your time can make such a big difference in other people’s lives,” said Armstrong, who won the 2011 President William Jefferson Clinton Hunger Leadership Award.

He added that the event aimed not only to set a world record but, more importantly, also to get emergency relief meals ready in bags for distribution.

“The situation in Haiti and elsewhere seems dire, but it is not hopeless,” said Armstrong. “These emergency relief meals are vital but should not be considered a long-term solution. I’d like to see famine eradicated. We must promote sustainable agricultural practices for the future.”

Armstrong hopes to get 10 universities involved next year and set a world record of one million emergency relief meals packaged by a volunteer team in an hour.

University of Guelph
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