Churchville Elementary School third grader Grace Hasselberg had an idea. She read about an international charity competition, Canstruction, that brings architects and engineers together to build megastructures from cans of food, which are donated to local food banks. Hasselberg thought her school could build a Canstruction, and she envisioned a pink heart to show love for the community.
She took her idea to her teachers and school administrators before presenting her plan to the entire school — they would collect a large quantity of canned food and eventually donate it all to Foodlink.
For two months, students and staff collected over 1,000 cans from the community. The project received a boost by Canstruction Rochester founder Ken Glazer. Glazer is the chairman of Buckingham Properties, which donated $500 so the school could order additional cans with pink and red labels to help define the heart shape.
Representatives from the third and fourth grades joined Hasselberg in the school cafeteria to create the heart wall. They were assisted by school library media specialist Kathleen Andres and her husband, Matt, who built shelves to help stabilize the structure, as well as senior library clerk Valerie Barnard. Beth Mineti, the school’s computer support specialist, was on-hand to videotape the build so the entire student population could later see the process. Principal David Johnson was called upon to aid in placing the final top row, which was far above the students’ heads.
“I never thought this would really happen,” Hasselberg said. “Seeing it is like a dream come true.”
Foodlink is a community food resource center serving Allegany, Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Orleans, Seneca, Wayne, Wyoming and Yates counties. To date, Canstruction Rochester has donated 370,000 pounds of food to Foodlink.