Canstructing help for people in need

Kelowna Rotary Club initiative taken on to help Kelowna Community Food Bank and Salvation Army Food Bank.

Maj. Ron Cartmell of the Kelowna Salvation Army tried to put a face to those who need help from the food bank.

Speaking before the Kelowna Rotary Club luncheon on Tuesday, Cartmell gave everyone a reminder of why that is impossible to do.

That’s because people in need of help from either the Salvation Army Food Bank or Kelowna Community Food Bank touch on all segments of our community.

Single people or single parents, working people or the unemployed, seniors, people being squeezed by the high cost of medication on their limited incomes—pick a group and they are represented at our local food banks these days.

“It is the role of the community to feed the hungry, not the food banks,” Cartmell said.

“We are here to help facilitate that responsibility.”

Cartmell was one of several speakers invited to speak before the Rotarians, to help kick off the service club’s Canstruction food and money fundraising project for both local food banks.

In its second year last fall, Canstruction raised 22,000 cans of food, collected by participants who used the donated cans their teams raised to create works of art and engineering creativity at Orchard Park shopping centre. This year, Rotary hopes to collect 30,000 cans and $5,000 in cash donations.

Grade 6 and 7 students at Dorothea Walker Elementary School embraced the contest last year, fundraising to collect the canned good donations and then using those cans for an artistic creation that won them several Canstruction awards.

“There is a significant need in our community to help low-income children and families with good nutrition. This competition gives businesses and organizations the opportunity to strengthen  their team-building while supporting a good cause,” said Dorothea Walker teacher Russ Bischoff who helped spearhead last year’s effort among his students.

And the students are back again this year to participate in this year’s Canstruction event, setting the standard by which other organizations and businesses can and should measure themselves.

Rotarian Robin Smith said he hopes up to 10 teams will take part this year, which will take place Feb.  6 to 13 next year at Orchard Park mall.

The Canstruction idea originally started in New York City as architects and engineers got together to come up with an idea to give something back to their city, to help those in need.

From that desire evolved Canstruction, combining the elements of fundraising and collecting food donations for people in need while fullfilling their own creative challenge to create an engineering artistic marvel from food cans that will capture the public’s interest and raise awareness about people needing food bank support.

As Cartmell noted, food banks offer a helping hand up for people trying to navigate through a crisis in their lives.  “We’re not there to help people for the next 30 years, but to help them through a difficult crisis at a given point in their lives,” he said, something that all of us are able to avoid often out of sheer luck and a support system of family and friends that many people can’t count on.

If you want to sign up a Canstruction team, contact Mike Wilding at 250-454-9053.



Kelowna Capital News