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JRA: Helping People, Setting a World Record
If helping to fight hunger isn’t enough reason to volunteer with the Jewish Relief Agency, the nonprofit organization has created another incentive — another feather you can put in your cap — or crown.
On June 2, the organization will try to gather 1,000 volunteers to pack delivery boxes full of nonperishable items. The organization will also attempt to set a Guinness World Record by having the largest number of people wearing a paper crown in one location.
What’s the current record, you ask? Seven hundred forty nine, set last year at the Diamond Jubilee Celebration for the Queen of England.
JRA isn’t just trying to be a royal pain in the butt. Over the summer months, the organization typically doesn’t get as many volunteers as during the winter to come out to its Northeast warehouse for its monthly program to pack and deliver food to needy families. In January and February, JRA usually gets around 1,100 volunteers each month; over the summer, they have gotten as few as 450.
“I always say, ‘Hunger is just as much a problem for families in our community in June as it is in December,’ ” said Amy Krulik, JRA’s executive director.
Krulik thought trying to set the Guinness record would serve as a fun way to “remind everyone that they can have fun” while doing something “that truly helps another person or another family.”
After coming up with the idea, Krulik instructed an intern to search for a record that would require at least 800 people but “no skill or talent on the part of the participants.”
While putting a crown on your head may be easy — unless of course there are questions about your bloodlines — setting a Guinness record takes work.
Those who want to join the legion of bizarre world record holders — the person, for instance, who can squirt milk the farthest (over 9 feet) or pack themselves into a suitcase the fastest (little more than 5 seconds) — must first contact Guinness officials to inform them of their proposal. Krulik did so, and then received a 28-page packet of rules and requirements.
When they attempt the record, the organization must have video cameras set up at every entrance and exit of the warehouse to ensure people don’t just put on the crown and then leave. They must all wear the caps at the same time for five minutes and that must be recorded using a calibrated stopwatch.
Guinness offers to send its own auditor from England but that costs a pretty pound, Krulik said. The relief agency’s auditing firm, Isdaner and Company, has volunteered to count participants.
If JRA succeeds in setting the record, it will be nothing new for Krulik. She was part of two record-setting events: the largest number of tap dancers at a public event, which happened in 1989 at Macy’s at Herald Squad in New York City, and the most people hopscotching
at one location, in front of the Franklin Institute, which Krulik estimated happened about 10 years ago.
“Knowing how much fun it is,” Krulik said, “I think that’s sort of why I thought of doing something in the warehouse.”