Food drive falls short of Guinness Record

23,000 pounds collected in Pitt Meadows - making it the largest drive-ever for the Friends in Need Food Bank

Volunteers collect donations in the parking lot of Meadowvale Shopping Centre during a food drive for the Friends in Need Food Bank April 12. More than 23

Volunteers collect donations in the parking lot of Meadowvale Shopping Centre during a food drive for the Friends in Need Food Bank April 12. More than 23

The City of Pitt Meadows hauled in the equivalent weight of an African elephant, but fell short of breaking a Guinness World Record for the most food collected in one day.

Volunteers gathered 23,210 pounds of canned goods Saturday, enough food to stock the close-to-empty shelves of the Friends in Need Food Bank for several months.

“We did a lot better than I thought we would,” said Pat De Luca of the Wesbrooke Seniors Living Community, which spearheaded the record-breaking attempt along with city councillor Gwen O’Connell.

O’Connell and her team of volunteers were aiming to beat the previous world record by collecting 600,000 pounds of food (roughly 32 pounds for each of the city’s 18,500 residents) to mark Pitt Meadows’ centennial celebration.

The record for the largest food drive in 24 hours was set by the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics, which collected 254,493 kilograms (559,885 pounds) of food in Durham in March 2011.

“23,000 pounds is still a lot for a little community like Pitt Meadows,” said De Luca.

“It was a nice thing to shoot for and the response was tremendous.”

More than 600 volunteers from across the city signed up for with the day-long drive, helping weigh the food, box it and truck it to Maple Ridge.

The Huber Meadus realty group and EPS donated trucks to help ferry donations during the event. IGA made it easy for customers by pre-packing 13 pounds bags of groceries to purchase for $10 while Hopcott’s Premium Meats aimed to collect 1,400 pounds or a steer’s weight in food.

Saturday’s event still broke one record as it was the biggest food drive-ever for the Friends In Need Food Bank. The donations couldn’t have come at a better time.

“We had to send one of our volunteers home on Friday because we had run out of canned fruit,” said Mary Robson, executive director of the Friends In Need Food Bank, which serves more than 2,500 people every month.

The Wesbrooke wants to make the food drive an annual event.