Last year, GM+A participated in Canstruction Orange County to benefit the Orange County Food Bank and fight hunger in our community. The event is a fun way for Architects and others in the design and construction field to engage in a beneficial project while having fun at the same time.

For 2012 Canstruction we teamed up with Keiro Healthcare and Orange Coast Optimists to bring the story of the Wooden Bowl and its message to life. This story teaches us an important lesson about respecting our seniors (you can read our blog about the Wooden Bowl here). Our structure last year used 2,400 cans, all themed in labels whose colors resembled wood grain, to comprise our Wooden Bowl. The bowl stood 4’ feet tall and 6.5’ feet in diameter. Underneath the bowl structure, we placed a cloth that contained a sea of handprints. These handprints went to the heart of the Wooden Bowl story. To begin the handprint underlay, we met with children from the OCO and told them the story and its importance. The OCO is an organization dedicated to the scholastic, physical, moral, and civic development of the youth in our communities, providing its members with community service, sports activities, cultural events, and leadership opportunities. We explained to the children that the handprints they leave on the cloth are a symbol of their generation and their commitment to respect and protect the community’s seniors.

After the children’s handprints were complete, we took the underlay to the Keiro Healthcare center in Los Angeles. Keiro is a non-profit organization that has dedicated its existence to the care of seniors in the Japanese-American community. We explained the story and the exercise again, but this time the participants were the senior residents. They had a blast placing their handprints next to those of the children, and reflected on how much bigger their hands were in comparison. We hope that this exercise not only enhanced our display visually, but provided an enriching experience to all who participated,  observed the process, and viewed our display at South Coast Plaza. Seniors are a growing portion of our society that are often ignored and cast aside. Many of the individuals that receive assistance from the Orange County Food Bank are seniors, and with the growing population of baby boomers and the recent economic issues in the US, the issue of under-served seniors will continue to grow. Any awareness that can be raised regarding this growing problem helps people understand how crucial it really is to help out seniors any way that we can.

Since 2012 was our first year participating in a Canstruction event, and not having ever constructed anything out of canned goods before, we were very cautious with our structural concept. This year, we are going for something a little more bold! Stay tuned for our next blog update and a sneak peek of our Canstruction structure for 2013!