Local agencies break world record for largest food drive




Posted on September 18, 2010 at 11:26 AM

Updated Monday, Oct 21 at 9:01 PM

SEATTLE -- They had just 24 hours to set a new world record. Local food banks joined together Saturday in Tacoma to collect a million pounds of donated food for the "Fill the Stadium" food drive.

Volunteers went through crate by crate, box by box all through the night and all day as food donations poured in to Stadium High School in Tacoma

“There has been a positive response. People are happy just random drivers out there ready to give and have fun,” said Ashton Rennegarbe, volunteer.

From 4 p.m. Friday to 4 p.m. Saturday, the collections rolled in.

“Because there are hungry people and everybody deserves to eat,” said one volunteer.

One Tacoma father brought his two young daughters

“We brought mac-and-cheese and chili and we brought some different packs of noodles,” said David Peterson, father.

All of the non-perishable items and food donations will stay right here in the Puget Sound region. They will go to local food banks.

The organizations hoped to collect one million pounds of food and double a previous Guinness Book World Record.

“Everybody wants to be part of history. It's a historic event. This is a once in a lifetime event for us and we really want to break the world record, but also help our neighbors in need here in Washington,” said Matt Campbell, Northwest Harvest.

Relief agencies say the recession has significantly increased demand.

“We are seeing a lot of families that have never been to food banks before. Many have found their circumstances that have changed dramatically in just a couple of weeks or a couple of months,” said Claire Acey.

"This is a time of incredible need," says Emergency Food Network's Executive Director Helen McGovern in a written statement."Unemployment in Washington remains high...Working families continue to fill the lines at Food Banks"

Stadium High graduate Bill Bartells made a donation for the school's 100-year anniversary celebration.

His is actually older than the school.

“It’s easy to do you just keep having birthdays,” laughs Bartells. “It works every time.”

At the end of the day, organizers reported they set the world record by 6,000 pounds of food. The total is more than 515,000 pounds.

The food drive coincides with Stadium High School's 100 year anniversary. Donors can also text "Hunger" to 85944 to make an monetary donation.