United Way event helps feed the hungry

CANstruction collected thousands of canned goods

Make a gift

Your generous contribution will help us find solutions to the community's toughest challenges.



With every canned good, box of Cheerios and bag of noodles, dozens of volunteers built a way to help feed people in Bartholomew County.

Collectively using about 46,000 perishable food items, elementary school students built a paw print and husky using canned goods. Manufacturing company employees built a floor of their factory and a hot air balloon, eye glasses, a “Wizard of Oz” scene, a map of America, a tractor and a ship rounded out the builds.

United Way of Bartholomew County and FairOaks Mall hosted the 11th annual CANstruction Competition at FairOaks Mall in Columbus.

The tens of thousands of items they used were divided between three food pantries, including the Community Center of Hope, Love Chapel and the Salvation Army and will help with part of United Way’s mission to make sure everyone in the community has their basic needs met, including food.

Participating teams included Starving Artist, Sunrise Rotary, Toyota, Hawcreek Hawling, Faureciam CSA Lincoln, IU School of Architecture, CAN’d Associates and We Are Family

Since its inception, the local CANstruction event has collected more than 300,000 cans while raising local hunger awareness to the community.

The canned food items used for the event will enable the organizations to save money on food purchases, which will free up money in their coffers for other programs, said Alicia Monroe, Volunteer Action Center Director and an organizer of the event.

“Without this event, the food pantries would be devastated as they would most likely run out or have to purchase food in which other programs/services they offer would suffer,” she said.

The event consistently raises thousands of cans of food to support our local food pantries during the peak of demand and when donations dip to its lowest point during the months of February to March.

The canned goods each organization will receive from the event will help stock the pantries all year and not just during peak times, said Ashley Mack, administrative assistant for Community Center of Hope.

“(CANstruction), helps keep our shelves stocked very well,” she said. “It will build us back up to a platform we can work from.”

Sign Up, Take Action

Sign up to receive our stories and updates, and learn more about how you can help.