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The Inn's 'CANstruction' kicks off this weekend

CANstruction 2023.

Tonnes of canned food will be used to create ‘Out of This World’ structures at Lambton Mall this weekend to help gather food donations for The Inn of the Good Shepherd, the agency’s executive director said.

“[This] Friday night, once the mall is closed, the teams move in with their carts and pallets of food,” said Myles Vanni.

This is the 11th year for The Inn’s CANstruction fundraiser. There are 12 teams set to build this year. Last year, 40,000 pounds of food was collected, enough to sustain the agency for three weeks.

“Donations are down quite a bit. [This fundraiser] is really important for us because our food donations have been about half of what we would normally be getting,” Vanni explained, pointing to $20,000-$25,000 spent on one month’s worth of food, compared to about $5,000 a month, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“And that's a factor of more people needing it because of the cost of food and donations being down because of the cost of food.” 

The teams begin building their designs at 9 a.m. on Saturday, March 2, and residents are encouraged to visit The Lambton Mall to watch the ‘CAN-struction’ of each build. Judging takes place the following day, with awards presented at 1 p.m. for a variety of categories.

“It brings the community together,” said Vanni. “Some friendly competition and [the groups] have a lot of fun designing and building the structures. 

“In the end, it's about coming together to support the food bank and it's helping a lot of people.”

“To put it into perspective how well we do in our community and how great Sarnia is, last year, there were about 115 communities around the world that participated in CANstruction,” Vanni said, pointing to places like London, England, Toronto, and 

Lisbon, Portugal. “Out of all those teams, what Sarnia built, came in as the third in the world for the amount of money raised. We raised about $23,000 last year.”
Last year, Sarnia also ranked 5th in the world for Most Food Donated to Food Banks.

“To think that little-old Sarnia with 80,000 people, can beat out Dallas or Lisbon or, you know, Montreal… it shows what a great effort this community puts into it,” said Vanni.

Team designs are on display until March 19 and residents can vote by donation for their favourites. The team that raises the most funds and donations will win the People’s Choice Award. 

During the March break, on Wednesday March 13, kids are invited to come and check out the structures, said Vanni, adding that they’ve hidden three cut outs of ‘Tinny’ the mascot. 

Three of the structures will have a Tinny mascot hidden on them. Kids can search to find Tinny and head to the customer service desk for a ballot to win a toy basket.

On Tuesday, March 19, the teams will assemble to, ‘de-can’ or take down their structures. The food, packed onto pallets, will be hauled by truck, and weighed back at The Inn.
“It's usually about 15 to 20 pallets of food,” said Vanni.

The Inn sees about 2,200 people using the food bank every month, which provides clients and families with about a week's worth of food. The Inn also serves a hot meal to an average of 95 people a day and they distribute about 55,000 pounds of food each month. 

To access resources at The Inn, or to learn more aboout volunteering and donating, visit



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