How does a moving roller coaster a replica of Big Ben, and 18 other hand-built structures help end hunger in western Dane County? When made from cans of food and packaged goods, the structures’ building blocks will fill the shelves of one of the largest food pantries in Dane County.
Middleton Outreach Ministry hosted the third annual Canstruction® Madison, which in conjunction with a community wide food drive, raised 28 tons of food to feed area people in need. The event took place at KEVA Sports Center in Middleton. Canstruction®Madison is a competition where community members come together to build incredible, highly imaginative structures out of canned goods and packaged food. After the structures are built and the winners are declared, all food used in the structures is donated to the MOM Food Pantry. Teams plan their structures weeks in advance, and then come together on the day of the event to build their displays. Prior to the evening event, the structures are judged by design professionals and community leaders.
This year’s winners include:
Most Nutritious Meal – Exact Sciences: Wash Away Hunger, a sandcastle built mostly with Baked Beans, surrounded by waves, made with cans of Tuna. The structure also included rice, and cans of fruit and vegetables. Exact Sciences also won the award for most cans, with a structure that included 6,157 cans of food.
Best Use of Labels – WTS Paradigm: 1-Up Hunger, a structure of Mario wiping out hunger and saving the day.
Structural Ingenuity – CUNA Mutual Group: Wishing Away Hunger with MOM, a genie made of tuna on a red carpet.
Celebrity Award, presented by Gilbert Brown: Middleton Fire Company #1: Responding to Hunger, a fire-station replica with a talking fire-dog.
Judges’ Choice – Capitol Insurance Companies: Food FORE ALL, a classic windmill mini-golf hole, complete with moving blades.
People’s Choice – Thinking Outside the Can: Roller-Canster, a roller-coaster structure with a moving belt and a can (representing the roller-coaster car) that sped it’s way around the track.
Youth Award –Middleton E.L.I.T.E.: The Time to End Hunger is Now, a replica of Big Ben.
According to MOM, this event is more than just a friendly competition. “Each can is more than just a building block; each can is food for a family and another step towards ending hunger in our community,” says Al Ripp, Executive Director of MOM. “We’re thankful for the community members who made our third year such a huge success. Nearly 45% of the people we serve are children, which makes this fun event also vital to our community’s well-being.”
Middleton Outreach Ministry has seen an increase in use of services. MOM, which works to prevent homelessness and end hunger in the West Madison, Middleton and Cross Plains areas, is serving record numbers of people and regularly distributing over 60,000 pounds of food per month, with a total of over 750,000 pounds distributed in 2012. The pantry and mobile food pantries saw over 14,000 visits in 2012, an increase of nearly 20% over 2011 and a two year increase in visits of over 80%.
Food pantries also struggle during the summer months. The need for food dramatically increases because children are not receiving free and reduced lunch at school and because donations often decrease as a result of summer travel. “We selected May for our Canstruction Competition because it will allow us to build up a food reserve going into the summer,” says Cheri Farha, Distribution Center Manager for MOM.
MOM is grateful that so many companies and groups are leading the effort to end hunger in our community. In addition to the 19 teams who participated in the event and all of the people who generously donated to the team’s efforts, companies both sponsored the event and donated in-kind goods to make the event a success. These donations included the space (KEVA Sports Center), discounts to make the purchase of food easier for teams (Capitol Centre Market with support from Certco, Inc.), structure platforms (donated and installed by J.H. Findorff & Son), food for teams and event goers, donations of media, and more. A complete list of sponsors can be found at canstructionmadison.org/sponsors.
MOM is a local non-profit organization that leads a community-wide effort to prevent homelessness and end hunger for our neighbors throughout Middleton, West Madison and Cross Plains. Through our business partners, affiliated churches, area schools, community service clubs, and numerous individuals, we provide food, clothing, housing assistance, emergency financial assistance, and special services for seniors. All programs are provided free of charge to neighbors in need. To learn more about the programs and people helped by MOM, log on to momhelps.org.