OC CAN Reduce Food Insecurity

One in 10 Orange County residents are unsure of when or where they’ll get their next meal. Many of them are children, sent to school with less than lunch. Some of them are mothers or fathers who sacrifice food and meals for their children. Some of them are seniors who cannot physically get to the grocery store. One in 10: it’s a troubling statistic, considering Orange County’s seemingly widespread affluence.

CANstruction Orange County is working hard to address the issue of food insecurity. This unique nonprofit organization brings together an abundance of creative minds, from established architectural, design, engineering and planning firms to the students shadowing these professionals. In teams, they are challenged to design and build life-size, Lego-like structures entirely out of canned goods. Placed throughout South Coast Plaza, these innovative creations raise hunger awareness during the month of September. After judging, the creations are dismantled, and all the canned food is donated to the OC Food Bank. From there, the food is distributed to shelters, soup kitchens and other local emergency feeding programs.

The Ninth Annual CANstruction Orange County Design/Build Competition took place this past September. After months of planning and designing their masterpieces, teams were allotted just one night to bring their 2-D ideas to life. After a grueling 12 hours of carefully stacking and color-coordinating cans, a panel of judges decided on winners.

“Best Meal” went to Architects Orange, with “CANifornia Burrito” depicting a healthy burrito. Little Diversified Architecture won “Structural Ingenuity” with their ingenious “Can FÜD Panda, Fighting the Forces of Hunger.” Lovable Po from Kung Fu Panda was depicted. “Best Use of Labels” went to FLUOR’s “Hunger Out!” Their impressive sculpture depicted Kobe Bryant and a black mamba snake. And, incredibly, “Most Cans,” “Jury’s Favorite” and the “People’s Choice” went to Jeffrey Rome & Associates for their sculpture titled “Celebrate Life On A Full Stomach!” A total of nearly 11,000 cans depicted the whimsical character La Muerte from The Book of Life.

In partnership with South Coast Plaza, OC Food Bank, the City of Anaheim, Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center, and Festival of Children, CANstruction Orange County’s competition was immensely successful. A whopping 72,800 cans were donated to the OC Food Bank. Those cans will provide hundreds of thousands of meals to impoverished Orange County residents. In partnership with OC Food Bank, CANstruction is getting closer and closer to ending hunger, one can at a time.