Northern New York Community Foundation announces winners of 'Canstruction' initiative

Apr. 21—WATERTOWN — The Northern New York Community Foundation announced the winners of its second "Canstruction for Northern New York" — which helps reduce food insecurity in the north country.

More than 5,200 canned goods and nonperishable food items or hygiene products were collected by eight teams and will help restock school-based backpack programs and community food pantries in Jefferson, Lewis, and St. Lawrence counties.

The winning teams will share $1,500 in grant rewards to present to two different school-based backpack programs selected by the participants.

Nearly 1,000 votes were cast and Indian River Central School's entry was voted as the "People's Choice Award" for a sculpture named "Diversity." They also won the "Top Collection Award" with over 2,600 canned goods and other nonperishables collected.

The group was led by special education teacher Kylee Lynch.

"Our community outdid our imagination, as always. With the help of our gracious families, faculty, and staff, we were able to compile over 2,600 items," Lynch said in a news release. "Students were so excited to build that they were offering any free time they had to help those in need both with collecting goods and creating a structure." Students chose the theme of "Diversity" to align with multicultural week in the school"

She says the money will be used to serve families in need in the district.

Banford Elementary School in Canton Central School District won "Best Design Award" for their "We CAN build our ABCs" project.

In a news release, teacher Cara Coffin called the project a "win-win" as it would benefit the school and the community.

"This was definitely a Canton school team effort that challenged our creativity and brought so much good to our students and families," she said in the news release. "Winning $500 for our BearPack program makes the effort even more worth it."

All of the teams will donate the items used to build their structure to local food pantries or a backpack program in addition to each of the winning teams getting a $500 grant for participants to distribute to a nonprofit.

Indian River students will be giving the district's backpack program their collected items. They will also be giving the backpack program the two $500 grant awards for winning the "People's Choice Award" and the "Top Collection Award."

Banford Elementary will be giving food items collected to the district's "BearPack" program that supports students and families on the weekends. They were also selected to receive the $500 grant for the "Best Design Award."

Carthage Middle School, Clarkson University, Harrisville Central School, Indian River Intermediate School, Jefferson-Lewis BOCES Hospitality Services Program and Jefferson-Lewis BOCES New Vision Health also took part in the competition.

The competition encouraged tri-county students to build a fun, themed structure made of donated canned food and other nonperishable food items or hygiene products to help a local food pantry or backpack program of their choice, and help decrease food insecurity in the region.