Jackson First United Methodist Church wins 'Best Meal' award in RIFA's 'CanStruction' event


Jackson First United Methodist Church's entry, “Lift a Load to Stop Hunger,” was a fork lift raising a crate of food for RIFA. (Submitted photo)

By Robert Curlin, Jackson First United Methodist Church, Jackson, TN

CanStruction, an annual fundraising event of Regional Inter-Faith Association (RIFA) in Jackson, Tennessee, was held Sept. 25-29 at the Carl Perkins Civic Center in Jackson, Tennessee.

This unique event featured local teams building sculptures completely out of canned and packaged foods. It was a competition for prizes in various categories, including a People’s Choice Award.  

The sculptures were assembled in the Civic Center lobby on Tuesday, and left up for display for the public to vote from Wednesday through Saturday. The following Monday, all the sculptures were disassembled and the food went to RIFA to use in its food pantry, soup kitchen and as ingredients in holiday meal baskets.  

CanStruction is the largest fundraiser of the year for RIFA. The organization took in over 40,000 cans of food from 14 teams from area churches and businesses. In addition to table and ticket prices, the public could vote on the people’s choice award by placing money in cans at the exhibit, or making online donations via RIFA’s website. Posters were set up with QR Codes to donate for a favorite—and votes were sold: 10 for $1.

Jackson First United Methodist Church's first-ever entry, “Lift a Load to Stop Hunger,” was a fork lift raising a crate of food for RIFA. The judges selected it for the “Best Meal” award, meaning the food used in the sculpture was a big enough variety to be combined to make the most nutritious, healthy, full meal combination.

The sculpture also qualified as a contender for “Best of Show,” which was ultimately won by Toyota-Bodine.

Pictures of all of the award winners are now submitted to national and international competitions for food banks all over the world.  

View pictures of all sculptures in this album created by The Jackson Sun: https://www.jacksonsun.com/story/news/local/2018/09/28/rifa-announces-winners-2018-canstruction-collects-39-k-pounds-food/1460090002/ 

Jackson First United Methodist Church was one of three churches that entered the competition. The other two churches were Northside United Methodist Church (youth group) and Fellowship Bible Church.