University of Illinois Extension sponsoring annual Can Construction Canned Food Drive

Tri-State Food Bank in Evansville, Ind., services the region by supplying much-needed food to area food banks to also address food security. 

The food bank has identified Johnson and Alexander counties as “food deserts” in the southern five county region. The counties face a critical need for food for their residents.

University of Illinois Extension is trying to help the region battle the food security issue by setting a challenge to unit 4-H clubs and partners to participate in the second annual Can Construction Canned Food Drive.

In response to the impact of barriers caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the competition will not be held at one place.

Instead, competition will be held at a site designated by the 4-H club, FFA or participating community organization.  

Possible sites include a school, church, community building or someplace participants are able to comply with all the CDC guidelines to be COVID safe during collection and construction.

For the competition, participants will bring canned food to design and build a structure or display. 


Construction paper can be used to cover labels for color, but original food labels are not to be removed.

Organizers noted other rules for the competition follow:

The event is open to any 4-H clubs, FFA or community organizations.

All original canned food labels must be left on can/box.

Construction paper labels may be placed over original labels, if needed.

A 10-foot by 10-foot space can be used by a participating club, group or organization. There is a 6-foot height restriction.

An organization may partner with another community organization for funding.

Any non-perishable food item is eligible.


The following schedule has been set for the competition:

Nov. 1-15: set up at the location of your choice.

Submit three to five pictures of the display to Vickie Taylor,, or Dena Wood,

Food Collection, Distribution

Food collection and distribution is planned Nov. 16-17.

All items will be donated to local food pantries. Boxes will be provided. Boxes have been donated by Signature Packaging and Paper in Jackson, Mo.


Awards will be given in the following categories:

Unit wide: first, second and third. Most cans collected. People’s Choice award, using Facebook voting.

Last year’s competition resulted in eight displays which generated more than 35,000 servings of canned food for donation to local food pantries. Organizers are hoping to top the total number of canned servings of food donated.

Those who are unable to participate in the construction competition are invited to consider making a monetary donation or to collect non-perishable food items for pick up and distribution.  

For more information, contact Kristi Stout by phone at 618-524-2270 or by email at



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