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Can sculpture contest to help fight hunger

More than 48,000 cans of food were assembled

More than 48,000 cans of food were assembled into 13 structures at RXR Plaza in Uniondale. Canstruction Long Island organized the exhibit, and the cans will be donated to Long Island Cares' Harry Chapin Food Bank. Videojournalist: T.C. McCarthy (Oct. 28, 2011)

In a contest that will include as many as 10,000 stacked cans of food, 10 teams of architectural, engineering and construction firms, working with local students, will create giant sculptures to display at a Uniondale office complex next week.

Since 2007, participants of the Canstruction Long Island have donated more than 193,000 cans of food and thousands of dollars to help feed the hungry. Cans used in the competition will be donated to Long Island Cares’ Harry Chapin Food Bank. Other donations from people who come to see the projects will also go to the food bank.

Tracy Lobdell, executive director of Canstruction Long Island, said the competition not only showcases local talent but helps fight hunger. Students are also guided by engineering or architectural professionals, she said.

“I’d like to see us hit 45,000 cans this year,” said Lobdell, 56, of Huntington. “It’s magical to see all the boxes of cans and people scurrying about and to see from these piles of cans a giant structure emerge. It’s so exciting.”

The teams will build their structures from 4 p.m. to 4 a.m. on Wednesday. The next day, there will be a reception at the RXR Plaza at 6 p.m. where the sculptures will be judged by a panel of experts based on the best use of labels, structural ingenuity and people’s choice, among others. The structures will be displayed in an exhibit from Oct. 25 to Nov. 6.

Lobdell said the teams spend as long as a year planning the design and its structure, figuring out how many cans they'll needed and how they'll stack them.

“It’s something that takes a lot of planning and forethought,” Lobdell said. “It’ll be amazing to see what these talents come up with.” 

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