CANtributions help those in need
Have you ever seen a giant blue Disney character made primarily of cans? No? Then you’re missing out! The Middleton Youth Center and Mead & Hunt’s Genie-from-Aladdin structure at this year’s CANstruction event is a sight to behold. It resides at Madison’s West Towne Mall, along with 10 other magical structures, all crafted from cans of food. This year’s theme, “Abra-CAN-dabra”, offers a mystical take on community giveback.
Canstruction is an international charity competition where architects, engineers, contractors and students they mentor, compete to design and build giant structures made of canned goods and packaged food. The food is subsequently donated to local food pantries—in Middleton’s case, MOM. The event has far-reaching effects, creating awareness of hunger issues, providing a nice stockpile of food in the pantry for the summer months, and facilitating youth outreach.
Mead & Hunt has participated in this fun event for the past four years, with no plans of stopping. CANstruction gives kids the chance to really become involved in a project that focuses on building engineering skills as well as community altruism. This year, the kids had a lot of fun helping build and design Genie, really taking ownership of the project. On build day, they were engaged and helpful, and Genie survived the whole ordeal unscathed.
Using food as a building material gives some of our engineers, in their own words, “an entirely unnecessary amount of can knowledge.” Seemingly insignificant details must be pondered: golden cans of tuna are perfect for Genie’s lamp, but how much tuna is too much tuna? Pasta and lasagna come in Genie-blue boxes and are also good staples for those in need. Cans of fruit, sweet potato, and pumpkin make a colorful magic carpet.
While building with cans of food comes with potential limitations, it also forces a certain resourcefulness. Ultimately, we are driven by the needs of the community we serve. Participating in CANstruction speaks to our core values—taking care of those in need and mentoring the next generation of potential community builders.
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