Students' "canstruction" competition aims to reduce food insecurity

Mar. 19—WATERTOWN — The LEAD Council of the Northern New York Community Foundation is inviting students at tri-county schools and organized student groups in Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties to participate in a project to help reduce food insecurity across the north country.

"Canstruction for Northern New York" is a group activity to encourage students to team up and construct a fun, themed structure made of donated canned food and other nonperishable food items or hygiene products to support a local food pantry or backpack program of their choice.

Joining the competition is through an online registration at Teams must register to participate by March 27 and select the local food pantry or backpack program that will receive team donations.

According to the foundation, participating students will have a chance to support essential needs for local residents while learning values of community philanthropy and building school spirit around a project that will make a meaningful difference in the lives of others. Overall, the project aims to raise awareness about hunger and food insecurity in our communities. The initiative will empower students to collaborate and inspire their school and community to join in the effort.

Examples of canstruction projects may be found on the project web page at Canstruction teams will compete for one of three chances to present a $500 grant to a nonprofit they care about most. A winning team will be named in the following three categories: "Top Collection Award" (most items donated/collected), "Best Design Award," and "People's Choice Award" (selected by an online vote).

Each winning team will award a $500 grant to their chosen federally classified 501(c)3 nonprofit organization serving residents of Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties. Contact Max DelSignore, Community Foundation assistant director, at for additional guidelines on nonprofit selection.

All canstruction projects must be submitted by April 21. Complete project rules, including a sample planning calendar with key project deadlines, is available on the project web page at The Community Foundation will provide a follow-up form to each registrant explaining the process for project submissions.