Students at the N.C. School of Science & Mathematics are hoping to break a world record on March 20 by gathering the most donations during a charitable food drive that lasts just 24 hours.

To break the record, donations must top 509,147 pounds of food. (Yes, that’s more than half a million pounds.) The food from the collection will be donated to the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina.

To put that figure in perspective, that amount of food would last the food bank about a week, said Allen Reep, vice president of development for the food bank. But it’s going to take a lot of participants. Every year, the N.C. State Fair gathers canned food at its gates in lieu of a ticket fee, and that collection usually brings in about 250,000 pounds of foodless than half what NCSSM hopes to gather, Reep said.

The food drive is well-timed. Last year, the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina gave out about 37 million pounds of food, a four-million-pound increase over the previous year, Reep said. And this year, the amount of food distributed is expected to climb by another three million pounds, due to families’ increasing needs in the economic recession, Reep said.

“More and more people who have never needed access to our services before need food,” Reep said.

The current record, according to an NCSSM press release, was set in September 2008 by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in partnership with the Calgary Inter-Faith Food Bank. They collected 509,147 lbs. of food in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

As an incentive to gather donations, everyone who donates on March 20 will receive one raffle ticket, and an additional ticket for every 10 pounds of food donated, according to the news release. Raffle items will include gift cards, signed sports memorabilia and more, and even includes a UNC-Chapel Hill T-shirt signed by American Idol contestant Anoop Desai.


WHAT: Collect more than a half million pounds of non-perishable food in 24 hours at one location

WHERE: 1219 Broad St., Durham, N.C., 27705

WHEN: March 20, 2010

WHY: To benefit the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina, and try to break the Guinness World Record for largest food drive in 24 hours* at one location

Contact coordinator Sue Anne Lewis at

*Please do not bring food items to NCSSM before March 20