Visitors to the Oakdale Mall this week may see a giant replica of the former Endicott IBM clock tower building — built out of nearly 7,000 cans of food.
The structure, built primarily by IBM employees, is one of eight on display throughout the mall as part of the second annual Canstruction of the Southern Tier. The event helps provide canned goods and funds for local agencies that deal with hunger relief.
Event chairwoman Susan Christensen, a board member of Canstruction host Broome Leadership Insitute, said the structures are larger this year than last and that the event is more organized.
“People knew what it was about this year, and they came with their game faces on,” she said.
An estimated 17,000 to 20,000 cans were used to create the structures, Christensen said. CHOW, or Community Hunger Outreach Warehouse of the Broome County Council of Churches, will distribute those cans to food pantries throughout Broome County. Corporate sponsorship funds totaling $15,000 will will be split between CHOW and the Food Bank of the Southern Tier for programs that fight child hunger.
“The financial support and the canned food items are wonderful, but the big piece for us is awareness,” Food Bank of the Southern Tier spokesman Jonathan Fuller said. In Broome County, 13 percent of the population and nearly 23 percent of children do not have secure sources of food each day.
Canstruction is a global nonprofit anti-hunger project. Participants join teams and work with design professionals to build imaginative structures out of canned foods that are then donated to hunger relief initiatives.
On Sunday morning, teams began building their structures, working with local architectural firms to design their “canstructions.”
Broome Tioga BOCES high school students worked with Lockheed Martin to build a 2,380-can replica of R2-D2 from “Star Wars.”
“We really try to integrate youth, so it’s not just about corporate participation, and we are proud of that,” Christensen said.
The structures will be on display through Sunday, after which teams and other participants will help break down the structures and transport the cans to CHOW for distribution, said CHOW Director Michael Leahey.
“It’s really an amazing thing to see” the structures being broken down, Leahey said.
Judges will choose their favorite structures in various categories, and the public also can vote online at foodbankst.org for the People’s Choice Award. An awards ceremony will be held for the participants on April 22.
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