From robots to forts and even a fish, the canned-good structures families are building for a unique St. Vincent de Paul (SVdP) food drive are taking all kinds of creative shapes and forms.

The idea behind the Can-struction Pantry Challenge is simple:
• Build a structure out of nonperishable food items you find in your pantry.
• Donate the food you use in your structure to SVdP.
• Post a photo of your creation on social media using the hashtag #SVdPPantryChallenge and challenge three friends to build something bigger, funnier or more creative.

“With so many families still staying close to home, we thought this would make a great family-fun activity that also helps out the community,” says Emily Radawec, the SVdP community drives manager.

SVdP hopes that fun food drives like this will help recuperate some of the food donations lost from cancelled drives due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Typically, SVdP springtime drives bring in hundreds of thousands of pounds of food that help get the nonprofit through the summer and into the fall. Those donations keep the kitchen, dining rooms and food boxes for home visits stocked.

“Understandably, many offices and community groups could no longer meet in-person to put on their food drive for SVdP,” Radawec explains. “But this is a way to still be part of a collective good right from your home and help some neighbors in need.”

Participants can drop off their can-struction donations at SVdP’s Main Campus (2120 S. 3rd Drive in Phoenix). Donations can also be made online at SVdP will put every cent toward purchasing food to help feed families, especially with so many more turning to the nonprofit for food assistance during the pandemic.

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul is an international nonprofit organization dedicated to serving people in need and providing others with the opportunity to serve. SVdP has been assisting central and northern Arizona families since 1946 and has more than 80 parish satellite locations. It offers services for the homeless, medical and dental care for the uninsured, charity dining rooms, transitional housing, and homelessness prevention assistance.