rebelling against low expectations

Teens Aim for World Record to Help the Hungry


The Star-Ledger • May 9, 2013 • Tom Haydon (Photo Credit: John O’Boyle)

It began with a group of Cranford teenagers and spread across the township in a effort to help others, and maybe set a world record.

Last Saturday, after months of collections, the township Teen Advisory Board assembled more than 28,000 cans of food into a pyramid, breaking the Guinness Book of World Records by more than 8,000 cans, a group leader said. All of it will go to the Community Food Bank of New Jersey in Hillside to aide people less fortunate.

“It really did turn into a township-wide project, which is kind of cool,” said Mark Dingelstedt, the volunteer co-chairman of the board. He praised the teenagers’ persistence. “They gave a 110 percent,” he said.

In the end, Dingelstedt said, the students were not alone. Engineers gave technical support. A construction company provided scaffolding. Firefighters helped with construction and donated money. Restaurants sent meals for the volunteers. School officials, Boy Scout leaders and the Police Athletic League all pitched in.

Students had pursued many opportunities for collecting cans.

“A lot of cold mornings outside of stores,” said Alexandra Tanagakos, 17, and a Cranford High School senior. “It was worth it,” she said. Not only were students going for a record, she said, but “at the same time we’re helping others.”

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About the author

Alex and Brett Harris

are the co-founders of and co-authors of Do Hard Things and Start Here. They have a passion for God and for their generation. Their personal interests include politics, filmmaking, music, and basketball. They are both graduates of Patrick Henry College in Purcellville, Virginia.

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rebelling against low expectations

The Rebelution is a teenage rebellion against low expectations—a worldwide campaign to reject apathy, embrace responsibility, and do hard things. Learn More →