Christopher Mavrikos, founder and executive director of The Dahlia Society, joins Hillside Centre marketing director Michelle Paget with a collection of food cans during this year’s Canstruction Victoria food collection and sculpture event at the mall. The fourth annual charity event brought in more than $123,000 in cash and non-perishable food for the Mustard Seed Street Church food bank. Courtesy The Dahlia Society

Mustard Seed food bank given huge boost from proceeds of Canstruction Victoria

Extra 24,000 tons of food helps during quieter time of year for donations

As artwork goes, some of the sculptures were amazing for the creative way way they utilized tins of food from store shelves.

As a supply of actual food, the fourth annual Canstruction Victoria event gave the Mustard Seed Street Church food bank a much-needed boost at a time of year that is traditionally quieter for donations.

Final totals from the June event, held and displayed at Hillside Centre over a 10-day period with the theme “You Are What You Eat,” came in this week. The event, spearheaded by local charitable group The Dahlia Society, hit an all-time high with more than $123,000 worth of food and cash brought in for the cause.

Society founder and executive director Christopher Mavrikos called breaking the $100,000 mark “awesome.” He credited the teamwork and positive energy of the volunteers from the 10 corporate teams participating, as well as the generosity of the teams and event sponsors for the success of this year’s event.

“Along with the fresh food initiative the Mustard Seed has started, we are on the precipice of managing food insecurity in the city of Victoria,” he said.

With the goal for year five of securing 12 teams – a determined Mavrikos guarantees that will happen – “we’re giving them the possibility of having canned goods from spring right through to Christmas,” he said.

The roughly 37,200 cans donated were mostly used by the teams to build structures that in many cases illustrated colourful portrayals of hunger, gluttony and the food chain. On top of the 48,500 pounds of food collected and shipped off in 33 large bins to the Mustard Seed, about $2,400 in cash was donated.

“This year what really changed the game is that some of the structures included larger cans,” Mavrikos said of the ideas for the sculptures. “The amount of cans is amazing.”

Allan Lingwood, past executive director of the food bank, said Canstruction Victoria represents the “single largest annual canned food donation we see” during the year.

“We are very grateful to The Dahlia Society and all Canstruction teams, sponsors and supporters for their efforts to give back to our local community,” he said.

This year’s teams included St. Michaels University School, Knappet Projects Inc., Sysco Victoria, Seafirst Insurance, two from Fairway Markets, Low Hammond Rowe Architects, Kinetic Construction Ltd., Farmer Construction Ltd. and Christine Lintott Architecture.

Canstruction is an international event staged in more than 160 cities worldwide. The Dahlia Society has done the Think Pink fundraiser for breast cancer research since 2005 in honour of Mavrikos’s mother, Lynn. It took on Canstruction Victoria in 2014. For more information, visit thedahliasociety.com.

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