STRONGSVILLE, OH (WOIO) - South Park Mall in Strongsville is hosting another year of the "Canstruction" competition to draw attention to food insecurity in Northeast Ohio.
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Teams from around the area spent Thursday night and Friday morning building statues out of donated canned food. This year's theme is "Can Your Imagination Run Wild." Last year, the event brought in more than 35,000 pounds of food and monetary donations totaling more than $4,000.
The statues will be on display at the mall through April 22. Organizers hope the displays will inspire others to donate food and money to help support the Greater Cleveland Food Bank and its partner agencies. The completed structures will be judged on Friday, April 13. A reception is being held Saturday, April 14 at 6 p.m. where awards will be handed out.
Last year, the Greater Cleveland Food Bank said it provided more than 55 million meals to the public. Each month, more than 228,000 people were served.
Officials said hunger doesn't just affect the homeless. They said it's an issue working families, children, veterans and senior face.
University Settlement on Broadway Avenue in Cleveland is one of the food bank's partner agencies. The organization receives fresh food, frozen meats and other nutrient-rich foods to pass out to people who'd otherwise go without.
"I wouldn't know where to go," said Dan Rowe, one of University Settlement's clients. "This is the main place that if I have a problem-- I come here and ask them and they're always there for me."
Longtime volunteer Denise Benton said the dynamics of hunger is tough to see.
"This is my way of giving back," Benton said. "I enjoy giving back. I enjoy being able to help other people, because I've been in a situation myself.
Rowe and Benton are grateful for the "Canstruction" food drive. They said it allows more people to know about the important work going on in Northeast Ohio.
"They do a lot of great things for the community around here," Rowe said.