They think they can, they think they can

Engineers and architects from Newport Beach firm Bassenian Lagoni stood before the canned structure representing an orange and marveled at their creation during the seventh annual "Canstruction" competition at South Coast Plaza.

"We built a fruit out of vegetables," said designer Courtney Power to her nine team members as she glanced at the 2,000 canned food labels bearing images of carrots, split peas and corn. The group named their build "Orange You Glad We Are Helping to End Hunger?"

With a can-do attitude, 19 local architectural, engineering, planning and design firms gathered over the three-day holiday weekend to compete and create structures out of canned food, all of which will be donated to the OC Food Bank after the exhibition's completion.

There was the design of an ice cream sundae titled "Take A Scoop Out of Hunger" and a lighthouse with the phrase "A Beacon of Hope to Fight Hunger."

The competition is in partnership with South Coast Plaza, OC Food Bank and Festival of Children.

On each weekend in September at South Coast Plaza, families may build arts and crafts and enjoy singing and dance performances during Festival of Children's events to learn about child-focused charitable groups.

"Canstruction OC is a wonderful complement to Festival of Children," said Sandy Segerstrom Daniels, founder of Festival of Children Foundation, in a statement. "The canned food structures are a creative way to raise awareness about the problem of hunger in Orange County."

Mark Lowry, director of OC Food Bank, spoke about hunger in Orange County and said that the two largest groups of people in need of food are seniors on fixed incomes and full-time workers in low-paying jobs.

"Canstruction is fun, great and whimsical," Lowry said. "But it's a food drive and ultimately, that's what matters."

The structures are on display through Sept. 28.

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