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University hosts first-annual Canstruction®Belton event

University hosts first-annual Canstruction®Belton event


By Jennifer Meers Jones ’08
How many cans of tuna does it take to build a seven-and-a-half-foot-tall sculpture of King Tut? According to members of Architectural Edge: 4,104.
The Temple-based company was one of seven local teams to participate in the first-annual Canstruction®Belton competition, benefiting Helping Hands Ministry, a Belton-area food pantry. During the three-day fundraising event, held February 10-12 at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor’s Mayborn Campus Center, teams built structures made entirely of canned goods.

In addition to Architectural Edge, the competition included two teams of students from Belton Middle School, Foundation United Methodist Church (of Belton), the youth ministry of Belton Nazarene Church, the Belton Young Professionals, and a group of Physician Assistants from the Internal and Family Medicine departments of Scott & White Memorial Hospital.

Teams consisted of five official members and at least one design mentor. The mentors, who included local builders, engineers, architects, or interior designers, were on hand to ensure the designs were structurally sound.

Prior to the event, the teams were responsible for collecting all the cans needed to complete their structures. Each sculpture was required to include at least 1,000 canned goods.

The teams had three hours to build their structures, creating designs ranging from King Tut, to an image of Bono from the band U2, to a scene from the Disney movie Ratatouille. The public was then invited to view the sculptures, with an admission requirement of one canned good or $1 per person. Each donation also bought a chance to vote for a favorite structure.

Winners were announced at a gala awards dinner at the conclusion of the event. Architectural Edge’s King TunaCANmun took the top awards of the night, winning for Structural Ingenuity and Juror’s Favorite.
The event brought in an estimated 18,000 cans of food, all of which will be donated to the Helping Hands food pantry. Over $10,000 was raised through the gala dinner, silent auction, and public donations. These funds will directly benefit Helping Hands Ministry.

Rucker Preston, who serves as Helping Hands’ assistant director of community relations, said that although the event was fun, its primary focus was to draw attention to the extreme need in the community. In the past year, Helping Hands has seen an increase in families receiving donations. The ministry previously served an average of 530 families a week; they now serve over 600 families in Belton each week.

“Our goal for this event was to communicate the need and the heart of what we do every day at Helping Hands,” Preston said. “Our expectations for this event were more than exceeded, with more than 1,000 people from the community coming out to participate. Being able to have that platform—that alone was a success in itself.”