October 10 at 10:01pm

Students break world record to raise awareness of local homelessness

cereal-5On October 9th, a team of middle school students at the Francis Parker School broke the Guinness World Record for the largest cardboard mosaic. The more than 3,900 cereal boxes used to create the mosaic were donated to Interfaith following the completion of the project.  The mosaic, which measured approximately 2,213 square feet – beating the previous record of 250 square feet by more than eight-fold – was completed in the gym at Francis Parker and was part of an initiative started by student Kenan Pala to raise awareness on homelessness in San Diego.

Kenan with his parents Zeynep (left) and Serhat (right) on the record-breaking day

While at the beach with his dad, Kenan saw a group of people caring for an injured seal and wondered if they would take the same interest in helping if it was instead a person in need. “We thought, what if that was a homeless person? Would they still be helping out?” said Kenan. “So that led me to the idea of raising awareness about homelessness. People care for animals, but they don’t often care about their own kind.”

The students began the project on Saturday, unloading the cereal boxes and outlining both the perimeter of the mosaic and the heart at the center.  On Sunday, they completed the project, straightening rows and filling in the remaining gaps. “This project shows that everybody can make a difference, whether they are donating a single box of cereal, or making the world’s largest cereal box mosaic,” said Greg Anglea, Executive Director of Interfaith.

The “Food4Homeless” student team poses in front of their record-breaking mosaic

Kenan’s initiative, called “Food4Homeless,” gave him and his friends not only the opportunity to raise awareness about homelessness, but also make a true impact on their community. A total of 3,926 cereal boxes, donated entirely by Quaker Oats, were used to complete the project and then given to Interfaith after the record was broken.  The donation will be distributed to over 2,500 families in need in North County.

Interfaith thanks Kenan and all of the Francis Parker students that made this incredible project happen! We appreciate their dedication to helping people help themselves and for including Interfaith in this project.