Foodbank’s Can-do Attitude

By Polly Kauahi
Wednesday - October 03, 2007
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Gathered at the 2006 Canstruction Competition (from left): Fred Paine, John Black, Mayor Mufi Hannemann, Amy Blagriff and Polly Kauahi
Gathered at the 2006 Canstruction Competition (from left): Fred Paine, John Black, Mayor Mufi Hannemann, Amy Blagriff and Polly Kauahi

“Look out below, Canstruction in progress!”

No that’s not a typo. I really do mean CAN-struction. And, if you’re at Pearlridge Center (Uptown) on Oct. 6, you can look down from the upper level and say those exact words! I’ll be waiting! Canstruction demonstrates that you can make a difference and one can of food helps feed an island neighbor in need. The American Institute of Architects, Honolulu Chapter (AIA Honolulu) will once again help feed Hawaii’s hungry with amazingly creative sculptures made primarily from canned foods. Last year 41,000 pounds of food were donated to Hawaii Foodbank. That’s more than 33,000 meals. It was also the largest one-day promotion in our history!

Everyone in our community can make a contribution as well. Bring your can and vote for your favorite sculpture. One can equals one vote. Place your can in the voting basket of the sculpture you like best. The sculpture with the most votes will win the People’s Choice Award, which will be announced Oct. 21. Vote as many times as you like. Voting starts Oct. 6 and runs through Oct. 21. All your food is donated to Hawaii Foodbank to feed Hawaii’s hungry. The top five needed items are canned meats or tuna, canned meals like stew or spaghetti, canned vegetables, canned fruits and canned soups. You CAN make a difference!

Pearlridge Center and AIA Honolulu are joined by sponsors Foodland, HonBlue and C & S Wholesale Grocers, which together manage every aspect of this promotion. There are 14 architect teams, and their designs are top secret! Locked doors and hushed tones at architectural firms mean that plans or models are being built. Even the UH School of Architecture students stash their plans away when a competing firm is on campus.

I can’t wait to see what 2007 will bring in creativity (and pounds of food)! For the 131,000 people we serve each year, this is like Christmas in October. Hawaii Foodbank distributions to Hawaii’s needy are down. I wish I could say it was because fewer people needed food. Regrettably, I can’t. Simply - we just don’t have enough food! Three years ago, the Hawaii Foodbank received an average of 815,585 pounds of perishable and nonperishable food per month from grocery stores, wholesalers, food manufacturers, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), America’s Second Harvest and the local community.

Today, the food bank receives an average of 733,580 pounds of food per month - 82,005 pounds less per month than three years ago, and 984,060 pounds less overall for the year. The significant decrease in food donations at the Hawaii Foodbank is part of a bigger picture nationwide. Fewer donations have been reported at the Food Bank for Monterey County, which used to receive as much as 40,000 pounds of canned goods and other products every three weeks. They now receive similar donations every three to four months. Similar numbers tell the story throughout the nation’s food bank network.

Lower food donations mean less food distributed to pantries, feeding programs, shelters and soup kitchens. Lower food donations mean less food is getting out to the people who urgently need it.

AIA Honolulu and Canstruction are helping make up the shortfall of food donations, and you can help. “Hunger in America 2006” reported that 48 percent of the clients served by Hawaii Foodbank are classified by the U.S. government’s official food security scale as experiencing hunger. Just one can CAN make a difference. One can of beef stew or chili will provide a meal for one of our island neighbors desperate for help.

Visit Canstruction at Pearlridge Uptown between Oct. 6 and 21, and visit to learn how you, too CAN make a difference! Each year hundreds of companies organize a food or fund drive to help feed Hawaii’s hungry. You can also make a secure donation on our website:


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