Canstruction Boston promotes hunger awareness through canned food sculptures


Samantha Barry

Sculptures made from canned goods are on display at the Boston Society of Architects, or BSA, through Oct. 25 as part of Canstruction Boston.

Jayden Khatib, news correspondent

Canstruction, a non-profit organization that holds competitions in cities across the world to promote awareness of hunger issues, is displaying sculptures at the Boston Society of Architects, or BSA, through Oct. 25. The sculptures are crafted by teams from various local architecture, construction and engineering firms using cans of food that are then donated to food banks.

Canstruction Boston manages to blend a fun shared experience with important charity work.

“Canstruction Boston is such a unique charitable event. It’s a cool combination of something fun and competitive for the architecture and construction firms that do it,” said Anna Luciano, a marketing manager at Nitsch Engineering and the Canstruction Boston co-chair. “They get to build these amazing structures, and there are awards given in a whole variety of different categories. It’s just cool to see.”

The 2019 competition’s theme is “Around the World.” Teams’ interpretations of the theme ranged from globes to re-creations of famous international monuments. 

“The one of the Eiffel Tower blows my mind,” said Mo Khalil, who stopped by the gallery after seeing the Canstructions from the window of a neighboring restaurant. “This year’s theme seems like a really cool way to highlight that [food security is] a global issue.” 

Canstruction Boston is a crucial source of canned food for the Merrimack Valley Food Bank. This year’s competition brought in 80,000 cans for the food bank.

“The cans that Canstruction generates are one of the largest donations that Merrimack Valley Food Bank receives each year,” Luciano said. “It helps them serve their clients for months.” 

Khalil said he feels the element of friendly competition might be crucial to the success of the competition.

“People and companies are probably more likely to donate cans through a fun competition that they are participating in than if the food bank was to just ask for donations,” Khalil said.

The Canstruction board hopes the structures will inspire people to think more about the issue of food insecurity.

“It’s amazing to think about what they are able to build basically out of just cans and a few leveling boards,” Luciano said. “If people are drawn to looking at these cool images like, ‘Oh my god, look at this amazing thing that people built,’ whether it’s online or in person, it makes you think about it differently.”

Dale Polanski, who stopped by the BSA on a walk with his granddaughter, agreed that the Canstructions can inspire people to think about food insecurity.

“I definitely wasn’t thinking about food insecurity walking in here today, but now I can have a conversation with my granddaughter about it,” Polanski said.