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The Rotary Club of Columbus-Sunrise attracted the attention of local media with their canned food structure, prompting The Republic of Columbus, Indiana, to produce a Web video about their efforts. Video courtesy of The Republic
R otarians have found a fun and artistic way to combat hunger.
In Canstruction competitions, groups raise awareness of hunger issues and support area pantries by building inventive structures made from cans of food, which are then donated to food banks.
The Rotary Club of Columbus-Sunrise , Indiana, USA, recently entered the town's first Canstruction competition, sponsored by the Columbus Area Arts Council , and won an honorable mention and a People's Choice Award, voted on by the community.
The club’s sneaker and basketball design, made from 3,700 cans of black olives, mandarin oranges, and assorted vegetables, will go on to compete in an international contest.
"We heard about the competition and how it would benefit local food banks only about a month and a half before it happened. But our members were really excited about the project and worked hard to get it done on time," says club member Brian Beach.
Team members contributed their time and talents to make the sculpture a success. Bob Schwartzkopf, an architect, and John Griffioen, a construction project manager, consulted on the design and building process. Celeste Racette, a chief internal auditor and the team's leader, secured donations of canned goods from local grocery stores.
"The generosity of the corporate sponsors we approached just blew us away," says Racette, who, after being turned down by several grocery store managers, persevered by contacting grocery chain executives and marketing departments. "Everyone came through in a way that made us all excited."
The eight teams competing collected 13,900 cans of food for local food banks.
"It gave different members an opportunity to share talents that they never knew they had," says Racette. "Who knew Bob knew how to make shoelaces out of cans of tomato paste?"
Canstruction is the official name of canned-food design and building competitions held throughout North America and other parts of the world. The first events were organized by the Society for Design Administration in 1992 to collect food, raise money, and create awareness of hunger issues.
Many other Rotary, Rotaract, and Interact clubs have taken part in Canstruction competions. To get involved, find a competition in a participating city near you.