Help Fight Hunger During the Holidays with Canned Food Sculptures


Beverage companies have a little fun with grocery store displays when the Big Game is just around the corner. Aisle end-caps become end zones with goal posts made from 12-packs or the Coach Potato Throne sits majestically on a carpeted slice of the 50-yard line. You look at them and just want to go for the gusto, at least that’s what the beverage reps hope.

While the Super Bowl may be not be on the schedule just yet, the time of year for giving thanks with family, friends, and community is upon us. It’s also a time to recognize the less fortunate and extend a helping hand when possible. Apartment communities often host canned food drives, which are a great way to stock up local food banks and strengthen community bonds among staff and residents. But too often, the drive goes with little notice and is reduced to a small box in the corner filled with a few cans of corn and soup.

Think Outside the Food Drive Box

True, every little bit helps, but why not, pardon the pun, think outside the box and host a themed canned food drive that is sure to draw attention? That’s what some architects, engineers, and construction firms do each year at Canstruction, an international design/build competition featuring elaborate, themed displays of canned goods that eventually are broken down, boxed up, and sent to food banks from Boston to Hong Kong.

A football crafted from individual cans of baked beans looks ready to punt, a Game Boy made from Le Sueur peas stands tall, and a tins of sardines carefully stacked to look like a View Master offer a creative view of humanity.

Giant View Master Made from Canned Food
Giant View Master (Image Source: Karen Given/WBUR)


Obviously, these are not your average end-cap displays and require months of planning and probably some extensive CAD design work. Picture one engineer working on a Chicago mid-rise and the pocket-protected guy in the next cubicle is blue lining a Slinky made from 1,500 cans of sweet peas.

That’s probably a little more effort than a property manager wants to put into a canned food drive, but a much smaller, simpler display in the leasing office offers residents and staff an opportunity to work together for a good cause – even if it’s a giant smart phone that not only feeds needy families but reminds residents they can renew their leases online (wink, wink!).

Get started by sending out an invitation to residents and staff to create a theme and start building a display one can at a time. For those with that symmetrical know-how, keep food types and can colors in mind when designing the display. A simple display of a can of soup, for example, could be made from any food items that are packaged in red and white cans.

Not that creative? Make a canned hodge-podge of, well, a hodge-podge. It may not look like a work of art, but it will certainly draw interest and accomplish the end-goal – giving thanks and helping others.

(You can see more canned food structures at the Only a Game website)



Contributing Editor, Property Management Insider
Marketing Specialist, RealPage

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Stacey Blackwell is a Contributing Editor for She is also a Marketing Specialist for RealPage, a provider of on-demand software solutions that integrate and streamline single-family and a wide variety of multi-family rental property management business functions, where she is responsible for planning and coordinating corporate events including trade shows, conferences, meetings, an incentive trip, and more. Stacey received her education at The University of North Texas where she majored in marketing. She is certified in trade show marketing (CTSM) and meeting planning (CMP).

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