By 10:23 a.m. Saturday, many of the 120 volunteers filling Marvin United Methodist Church’s gym stood still, quietly talking among themselves.
About a dozen or so continued to put cheese between pieces of bread, but a few moments later, they too fell still.
At 10 a.m., the gym had become a frenzy of activity. At 10 tables, members of each team stacked two slices of cheese between slices of bread. One person at each table stacked the finished sandwiches in a cooler, two counted each sandwich and two more kept the table filled with bread and cheese.
When supplies ran out, 2,988 sandwiches were neatly packed into coolers.
The total broke the Guinness World Record for the most sandwiches made in one hour. The previous mark was 2,706, set by Eckrich Bacon Lover’s Deli Meats in New York on May 21.
Laurie Cook, the development director for Action Ministries, called the official time at 10:35:39.
“That is simply amazing,” she told the crowd after announcing the totals.
The sandwiches will be delivered to children in Richmond and Columbia counties this week.
Sam’s Club and Rethink Church, an outreach effort of United Methodist Churches, provided Action Ministries with enough bread and cheese for 3,000 sandwiches. The only reason 3,000 were not made is because some of the bread heels weren’t used, Cook said.
Similar sandwich-making events through Action Ministries were held at the same time in Athens, Atlanta, Rome and Gainesville. In Athens, volunteers made 4,000 sandwiches, according to The Athens Banner-Herald.
Guinness officials must verify the results of Saturday’s events before declaring the record.
Marvin Methodist Pastor Elizabeth Ackerman will deliver some of the sandwiches to at least seven families in the Smart Lunch, Smart Kid program, which provides sack lunches to children who qualify for free or reduced-price lunches during the school year and might not have access to adequate nutrition in the summer.
“It’s just exciting we are doing this. So many churches and groups came together for this one occasion, on behalf of the children,” she said.
Nearly all volunteers stayed to help package the sandwiches for distribution.