Can Creations

Reach Out Lakota Brings a Can Sculpture Competition to Town

Imagine walking into your favorite local businesses and seeing towering sculptures made entirely of canned goods and pantry staples. That scene will be unfolding at businesses and schools all around our community as Reach Out Lakota (ROL) debuts the Can Creations Sculpture Contest this February.

“We were looking for a new way to drive excitement behind doing a canned food drive,” says Scott Stephens, ROL executive director. “Food drives drop off in the winter and this will help with that lull. Our volunteer team came up with this idea for a friendly sculpture competition that will bring in needed food.” 

Anyone can form a team—businesses, classes, clubs, neighbors. Teams plan their designs, host their own canned food drive or purchase the supplies needed, then build their creations.

“We’ve made it so that all types of groups can participate,” says Sue Cheney, ROL special program coordinator. “Those without a way to publicly display their sculpture can simply send us a photo of their finished masterpiece.”

Building structures takes planning and some trial and error, so ROL is spreading the word early to give participants ample time to prepare.

“One tip is to browse the grocery aisles to find items in sizes and colors that fit your design before doing your food drive,” says Sue. “For example, if your plan is to build a giant apple you’ll want your drive to focus on foods with red labels.” 

It’s important that labels are kept on the cans and that no permanent adhesion is used for the structures since ROL will be donating all the cans to local families in need.

“ROL gives thousands of pounds of food each month, all year long,” says Scott. “This competition will help bring in food long before summer when our shelves often run low.”

This unique competition is a great way to develop teamwork and camaraderie between co-workers, members of clubs and classmates, all while benefiting area residents in need. Organizations may attract visitors by keeping their sculptures on display for up to six weeks.

“It’s a fun way for businesses to let others know you are here supporting this community,” says Scott. “It also gives folks a chance to see where they are located.”

The Lakota School District is encouraging student groups to get involved as a hands-on way to apply what they learn in class while also supporting our local food and clothing pantry.

“Can Creations is a great build to Lakota’s usual district-wide food drive in the fall,” says Lauren Boettcher, school & community relations manager for Lakota Local School District. “This is an opportunity that combines learning and service and we are excited to have another fun option to continue supporting Reach Out Lakota.”

Teams and sculptures can be big or small, simple or complex. Awards will be given in eleven categories, including four specifically for small groups. A few of the categories include Most Creative, Best Student Entry, Most Donated Items Used and the People’s Choice award, which will be decided based on votes on the ROL Facebook page.

“We hope to see some friendly competition among groups,” says Sue. “Along with bragging rights, our contest winners will receive a truly unique trophy in recognition of their creativity and generosity.”

Follow ROL on Facebook to vote for your favorite sculpture and find displays in the community February 14-28. Details and registration is available online.,, 513.779.7515

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