Glenrosa Middle School students build for the food bank

Glenrosa Middle School Grade 8 social justice students Harpreet Saini (left) and Jessica Wiltink stand beside their giant Tim Hortons coffee cup structure, built out of cans that will be donated to the Westside Community Food Bank. - Wade Paterson/Capital News
Glenrosa Middle School Grade 8 social justice students Harpreet Saini (left) and Jessica Wiltink stand beside their giant Tim Hortons coffee cup structure, built out of cans that will be donated to the Westside Community Food Bank.
— image credit: Wade Paterson/Capital News

For Grade 8 social justice students from Glenrosa Middle School, nothing is quite as Canadian as a cup of Tim Hortons coffee.

So, when the students learned the theme of Canstruction Kelowna 2014 is all things Canadian, it didn't take long for them to decide what they would build.

Earlier this week, the GMS students were one of seven teams stacking cans and other non-perishable food items as part of Canstruction Kelowna 2014 in Orchard Park Shopping Centre.

"It's a unique event," said Lenetta Parry, executive director of the Kelowna and Westside Community Food Banks.

"It's a great way to raise food, funds and awareness and shine a spotlight on hunger in a unique way."

The annual event is being put on by the Rotary Club of Kelowna, Save-On-Foods, the Rotary Club of Kelowna Foundation, Kelowna Community Food Bank, Westside Community Food Bank and Kelowna Salvation Army.

Teams who are building structures this year include: GMS, Maple Reinders, Orchard Park, Rotaract, Save-On-Foods, St. Joseph's Elementary and UBCO engineering students.

Grade 8 GMS students Jessica Wiltink and Harpreet Saini said it took them and eight other students about five hours to construct their five-foot-nine Tim Hortons coffee cup, made out of approximately 1,000 cans of food.

But the students began their preparation for the project last December.

"We created a trial run at the school's library, which was on display until Feb. 14," said GMS teacher librarian and team coordinator Trina Zuyderduyn.

"The purpose was to work out all the problems in advance of the competition."

Zuyderduyn noted Canstruction Kelowna 2014 gave students education on design and stability.

"It used a surprising amount of math. (They) worked collaboratively on a student-designed and created structure, all while learning the importance of giving back and building school spirit."

Parry said many of the participants see Canstruction Kelowna as a great team-building exercise.

"We have lots of businesses, schools and social clubs coming together to make up the teams," said Parry.

"They do everything from work with an architect, to design their structure, while taking everything into account."

Other structures built this year include a Terry Fox mural and a giant Canadian flag. Parry said the theme was chosen to celebrate the Winter Olympics, currently taking place in Sochi, Russia.

All of the cans and non-perishable food items used in this year's structures were donated by Save-On-Foods.

"There are over 18,000 cans of food that will be shipped to the local food banks," said Parry.

"So it will make a huge difference this time of year to help us fill our shelves."

Kelowna Canstruction 2014 is the fifth annual event. The Canstruction concept is an international competition that has raised over 21 million pounds of food since 1992 and takes place in 150 cities throughout the world, according to Parry.

"At the end of the day, the food banks are the real winners in all of this."

The structures will be judged Thursday evening and will remain on display in Orchard Park Shopping Centre's Sky Court and Apple Court until Feb. 23.

Non-perishable food items and financial donations will be accepted at the mall during that time.

After that, the food items used will be donated to the Kelowna Food Bank, the Westside Community Food Bank and the Kelowna Salvation Army.

Twitter: @PatersonWade


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