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Food Bank turning donated cans into art


Peas. Corn. Green beans. The Fredericksburg Area Food Bank collects canned goods to feed more than 15,000 area residents each month.

This weekend, those cans will be put to a more artistic use before hitting the cupboards of the hungry.

During a charity event called Canstruction at the Spotsylvania Towne Centre, 11 structures made entirely of canned food will be on display. Guests can stop by and admire the works of art. And for $1 or a canned good, they can get a ticket to vote for their favorite sculpture.

“It’s a food drive with a different twist on it,” said Cynthia Lucero–Chavez, one of the event’s organizers. “It’s just really to generate resources for our food bank.”

All of the money and food collected—as well as every can used for the sculptures—will go to the Fredericksburg Area Food Bank.

The local event got its start a year ago when Lucero–Chavez, who coordinates Stafford County Public Schools’ service-learning classes, met with Sharon De Souza, promotions director for 99.3 The Vibe.

De Souza had a picture of Canstruction events, which are held throughout the country. She told Lucero–Chavez that she’d like to hold a Fredericksburg Canstruction event sometime.

Lucero–Chavez studied the picture of canned goods made to look like famous buildings, people, robots and even larger-than-life sneakers. And she said, “We can definitely do this.”

After all, the students in Stafford County’s five Learn and Serve classes hold community-wide events regularly. Each year, they arrange for volunteers to read at every Stafford elementary school for Dr. Seuss’ birthday. Twice a year, they arrange a Rappahannock River cleanup. And they just recently completed a No Texting Campaign targeting teen drivers.

So the students started recruiting teams to build canned-good structures. Four of the Learn and Serve classes also formed their own teams. Each team has to forage for its own canned goods, usually by holding food drives.

Teams registered in December and have spent the past month designing the artwork and collecting food.

They will assemble the sculptures this Friday evening, and the artwork will be in the center court of the Towne Center on Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

Judges will award prizes in a few categories, and there will be a people’s choice award from tallied votes.

Monday evening, the artwork will come down—and the Fredericksburg Area Food Bank will pick up the food.

 Amy Flowers Umble: 540/735-1973


What: Canstruction, a fundraiser and food drive for the Fredericksburg Area Food Bank

When: Sculptures made from canned goods will be assembled this evening and will be on display Jan. 19–21.

Where: Spotsylvania Towne Centre; stop by the Canstruction desk at the Food Court for a map.

Details: Donate a canned good or $1 for a chance to vote for your favorite sculpture.