Canstruction returns to the State Fair of Texas

By Shelby Whitson

Structures made from canned and packaged food are on display at the State Fair of Texas to promote feeding the hungry.
Fort Worth and Dallas companies designed can art to fit the fair’s theme “Passport to Texas.” At the end of the fair, cans raised by Fort Worth companies will be donated to the Tarrant Area Food Bank.
Canstruction events are held annually in over 150 cities around the world. This is the 17th year Fort Worth has participated in Canstruction.
Since 1999, Fort Worth Canstruction contests have raised over 821,560 pounds of canned food, the equivalent of about 53 full-grown elephants, according to a Tarrant Area Food Bank Canstruction project pamphlet.

Debby Christian, the volunteer coordinator at the Tarrant Area Food Bank, said that events like Canstruction are needed to raise supplies.
“We serve an average of 50,000 individuals every week,” she said. “[Canstruction] is one of the most amazing programs. It is a wonderful opportunity to bring awareness to the community, bring the project out to where the public is and then tie is back to the food bank.”
The TAFB’s network of nonprofit agencies serves Fort Worth and other communities in 13 counties, an area larger than the state of Vermont, according to the TAFB website.
Supplies raised from events like Canstruction go toward a variety of services provided by the TAFB.
These services include mobile pantries that bring food to areas of high need and the BackPacks for Kids program which sends food-insecure youth home with backpacks of food for the weekend, according to the TAFB website.
Christian said working with the BackPack program is moving.
“This little boy would go under the porch to eat his breakfast and he would go back under the porch to eat his lunch and his dinner,” she said. “He was collecting the spoons, the bowls and all of the products that came with the food because he didn’t have anything to his name and this was the first thing he could call his own.”
She said volunteers are necessary for the TAFB.
Debra Pointer, a volunteer at the TAFB, said she feels strongly about giving back.
“We are so fortunate in this area,” she said. “I think we owe our community to serve them.”

The Fort Worth Canstruction event is sponsored by the Fort Worth chapters of the Society for Design Administration and The American Institute of Architects. Several local companies create teams for the build.
Julie Meeks is on the Fort Worth Canstruction committee. She said employees of participating companies have fun while helping the TAFB.
“Build day is so exciting, we watch the teams put together the ideas that they have been working on for two to three months,” she said. “We are like a big family, we work together to make this the best event it can be.”
Fort Worth winners have already been selected by judges. People can still cast their votes for the Canstruction People’s Choice Award by visiting
The cans will be on display in the Science Place building at the fair until Oct. 18. Canstruction is free with a State Fair of Texas ticket.