New Castle Cub Scouts surpass food drive goal for Guinness world record
Cub Scout Pack 221 in New Castle had hoped to collect at least 14,000 pounds worth of food in 24 hours, and in doing so establish a new world record.
With support from residents, businesses and area nonprofits, Pack 221 shattered that goal with more than 25,000 pounds of food gathered through direct contributions and cash donations, according to John Harcourt, assistant Pack 221 master.
“It just smashes it, no matter which way you want to count it. … Thank you, New Castle, for coming together. I think it really brought our town together as a community. It just became a team effort,” Harcourt said.
Within the first three hours of accepting donations Saturday, the Pack had sent out its first truck load of food, which totaled more than 10,000 pounds. By the time the effort ended Sunday, volunteers had gathered 18,660 pounds of food.
The Cub Scouts collected $3,058 in cash donations, which went toward purchasing 6,723 pounds of food, bringing the total to 25,388 pounds.
With more than 6,000 pounds of food collected over the course of 48 hours each of the past two years, this year’s collection amounts to four times the amount of food in half the time, Harcourt remarked.
Pack 221 had hoped to establish a new world record for the largest food drive per capita.
The North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics in Durham, North Carolina, owns the record for largest food drive by a noncharitable organization in 24 hours with 559,885 pounds, according to Guinness World Records.
Recognizing that New Castle, with a population of 4,463 people, according town officials, could not collect that large an amount, Harcourt proposed a new record based on per capita donations. He went through the process and received approval from Guinness.
While the number far exceeds the Pack’s goal, it will be some time before the Cub Scouts learn if they’ll be holders of a Guinness world record.
When a record is submitted to Guinness, the supporting documents are reviewed by a team. That process takes 12 weeks, according to Sofia Rocher, public relations coordinator for Guinness World Records. The supporting documents vary from one record to another, but typically those include videos, photos and witness statements.
In the case of a food drive, Guinness also requires proof that the food went to a charitable organization, Rocher said.
Harcourt said it‘s going to take some work to compile the materials to submit to Guinness.
Regardless of world records, Pack 221 can celebrate the fact that it contributed to a worthy cause.
As has been the case in previous years, all the food is going to LIFT-UP, a local nonprofit that provides essential assistance to area residents.
“We just really appreciate all the support and help,” said Kimberly Loving, executive director of LIFT-UP. “I know it took a lot. … I know that food will go a long way for us.”
The donated food will go toward LIFT-UP’s holiday food boxes, which provide area families with a standard holiday meal.
This year 2,200 families have enrolled, which is up from 1,700 last year, according to Loving.
“We just can’t thank the community enough for all the support,” she added. “We wouldn’t be able to do what we do without the community’s support and that of people like John Harcourt and the Cub Scouts.”
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