New Castle Cub Scouts aiming for world record |

New Castle Cub Scouts aiming for world record

Ryan Hoffman
John Harcourt with Cub Scout Pack 221 in New Castle demonstrates for volunteers outside of City Market Saturday how to hand out bags for the annual food drive.
Ryan Hoffman / CItizen Telegram |

Cub Scout Pack 221 in New Castle hopes to make a loud statement this weekend: The community does not back away from an opportunity to help those less fortunate.

Saturday is the start of the annual food drive, and the Cub Scouts hope to establish a world record for the most food donated by a community, per capita, in 24 hours. The group has authorization from Guinness World Records to go for the record, according to John Harcourt, assistant Pack 221 master.

This past weekend a team of more than 60 volunteers, a group that also included Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts from neighboring communities, delivered bags and instructions to residents throughout New Castle.

Starting at 1 p.m. Saturday volunteers will be outside the New Castle City Market to help raise awareness and accept donations, while others will head out to collect the previously distributed bags. Donations of nonperishable food items will be accepted through 12:59 p.m. Sunday.

“We have half the time to collect twice as much food,” Harcourt said.

In the past two years, the Cub Scouts have collected more than 6,000 pounds of food over the course of 48 hours each year. The food is donated to the local LIFT-UP food pantry.

The amount of food collected has grown larger and larger each year since the food drive started around seven years ago.

“Even in the depths of the Great Recession everyone was generously giving,” Harcourt said.

Eventually, he added, it got to the point where it seemed the little town of New Castle had to be approaching some kind of world record.

That was not quite the case.

According to Guinness World Records, 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. That record, set in 2011, was 559,885 pounds. It was collected in an 18-hour period.

With a population hovering between 4,000 and 5,000 people, there is no way New Castle could come close to that number.

That is when Harcourt started wondering about using the population to qualify the donation total.

Going by the record for largest food drive and using the population of Durham, Harcourt figured the number came out to just under 2 ½ pounds of food donated per person.

With a population in New Castle of right around 4,600, according to the most recent numbers, 14,000 total pounds of food would come out to a little more than 3 pounds per person.

He sent a letter detailing the proposed record to Guinness World Records, and three months later it gave its approval, Harcourt said.

“We just want to make a big statement this year. … That we live in such a kind and caring community — that everyone always rolls their shirt sleeves up and jumps on board,” he added.

It is an ambitious goal, and that is a good thing, said Casey Carbone-Marron, a den leader who was out volunteering this past Saturday

“Look at this,” he said while gesturing to the more than 60 people gathered to volunteer.

The town of New Castle gave $500 to help promote the event, and Harcourt said local businesses and service organizations have pledged financial support that will be used to purchase food Saturday.

Anybody who would like to volunteer or get more information on how to participate can contact Harcourt at 303-548-5881.

“I think it’s in the cross hairs,” he said of the goal. “I think it’s very attainable.”

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