Cans combat national hunger

By Emily Warren

Olivia Sells, senior social work major, carefully places the next layer of the “table” based on the plans designed by engineering students. | Photo by Victoria Stargel

“Canstruction” is a nation­wide competition the citizens of Jackson take part in every year around October to help contribute to the fight against hunger by raising awareness.

Organizations in Jackson compete against one another to make the best structure out of canned food, but also work together to inform the commu­nity of hunger issues. Displays from the groups competing in Canstruction can be seen at the Old Hickory Mall, Oct. 5–22.

Leaders at Union include: se­nior social work majors Cassie Badillo, Rachel Curtis, Abby Taylor, Sarah Brubaker, Olivia Sells, Kalli Nicks and Carman Griffith; senior engineering ma­jors Ian Allen and Robert Lynn; and Rachel Quinn, junior engi­neering major.

“Most people want to help, they just don’t know how to,” Badillo said. “This is why we participate in Canstruction at Union, to raise awareness for students and help them answer the question: ‘What can I do for my community?’”

A lot of thought is put into the structures, beginning with two questions: what to build and why to build it.

Union chose to build a table.

“The table represents the fact that even though a fam­ily might have a table in their kitchen, they might not have any food to set on it or fill it with,” Badillo said.

Sacred Heart of Jesus High School is the only high school in Jackson to participate in Canstruction this year. They chose to build a castle, named Fort Knox, to match their mas­cot, the Knights, said Debi Sul­livan, a teacher at SHJHS.

After the structure is de­cided, the next step is to figure out how to construct it with permitted materials. The allo­cated space for the structure is 10 feet by 10 feet. Materials organizations can use besides canned food are limited to Velcro or other types of fabric fasteners, tape, rubber bands, nylon string and wire.

While engineering the table, gravity proved to be the big­gest issue, Badillo said. It took Union students more than 14 hours to build the table and chairs and solve the engineer­ing problems.

After the contest, all cans and proceeds will be donated to the Regional Inter-Faith As­sociation. RIFA provides food for the poor in Jackson and sur­rounding areas.

According to the Canstruc­tion website, the event helps raise awareness for the 49 mil­lion Americans struggling with hunger. By participating in Canstruction, Union is helping to show that one can stop hun­ger. To help continue this fight against hunger, students can participate in dodgeball tour­naments during Homecoming Week in November.

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The Cardinal & Cream is a student publication of Union University in Jackson, Tennessee. Our staff ranges from freshmen to seniors and includes a variety of majors — including journalism, public relations, advertising, marketing, digital media studies, graphic design and art majors.