Stacking cans to stop hunger

By Hannah McDonald
By Erika Mahoney

March 24, 2014 Updated Mar 24, 2014 at 12:35 AM EDT

Johnson City (WBNG Binghamton) Volunteers stacked cans on cans for a hunger-relief competition Sunday. Organizers said the event combated hunger in more than one way.

"All the cans will go out to the community to help fight hunger," said Susan Christensen, the CANstruction chairwoman.

Ten teams of local professional and student engineers built creative structures throughout the Oakdale Mall for the first ever CANstruction event in Broome County.

"I think it's great that all these companies get together and join in on CANstruction," said Martin Sweeney, a builder from BCK-IBI Group. "I think the real goal and satisfaction is when these cans get dispersed to those who need it in the area."

Teams from across the Southern Tier got creative with more than 17,000 cans of food, building backpacks, the minions from Despicable Me and even a spaceship called "Tuna Moon and Back."

"The fun thing is just walking up and down the aisles of Wegmans, just looking at the random colors of cans, and getting on your hands and knees just stacking things," said Tim Strong, a CANstruction designer from Visions Credit Union.

Some were surprised by how difficult it was to stack the cans.

"I thought it was actually going to be easy building with cans," said Sweeney. "Putting all those cans together can be tricky."

So tricky they got extra help from rubber bands, super glue and cardboard to keep their creations together.

An additional $15,000 from sponsors will help support the Food Bank of the Southern Tier's Backpack Program, which helps kids get good nutrition on the weekend when they're not in school.

On Wednesday, the winners for "best use of labels," "best meal" and "a people's choice award" will be announced.

"You should vote for us because of the tie in with the theme," Strong said. Their backpack structure is called "Packed with a Vision. "A little creativity there. I'm not saying we're the best, but we're the best. "

You can cast your vote at the mall by scanning your favorite structure's QR code.

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