Food Cans and the Fight against Hunger

November 21, 2009 at 9:32 pm 1 comment

PumpCAN pie Canstruction

© Margarida Correia. PumpCAN pie “canstruction” was created with 2,580 cans of tuna, sardines, baked bean, sweet corn and other food. It is part of the 17th annual Canstruction design/build competition.

A piggy bank.  A pumpkin.  A dove.  The three giant sculptures — on display among dozens at the World Financial Center through Monday — are made entirely from food cans.  Thousands of them.

The “canstructions” are part of an annual competition to draw attention to the problem of hunger in America.  With a growing number of Americans cutting back on food or skipping meals due to restricted budgets, the sculptures resonate more than ever.  Just this week, the Agriculture Department reported an increase in the number of American households lacking access to adequate food.   It reported that 49 million Americans are “food insecure,” meaning they don’t have enough to eat.  That’s up from 36 million hungry Americans last year.

Many of the canstructions tried to strike a hopeful chord.  The creators of the winning piggy bank sculpture—made with 3,024 tuna and salmon cans—noted that the piggy bank served as “humble reminder that with a little effort from a lot of people we can help feed many.”   A canstruction of the “very hungry caterpillar” in the popular children’s book reflected on the caterpillar’s metamorphosis, using it as a metaphor for hunger.   The caterpillar took an astounding 9,168 tuna cans to build.  It was a very hungry caterpillar indeed.

My personal favorites revolved around Thanksgiving.  There was Jack the PumpCAN, a 3,000-can jack-o-lantern whose lantern “glowed as a beacon of hope” and “warded off the demons of hunger.”  And there was a slice of pumpCAN pie complete with a dollop of cream.  The giant slice was made with 2,580 cans of baked beans, sweet corn and lots of other goodies.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

For an account of last year’s Canstruction competition, please click here.

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