Participants have a can-do spirit in event that benefits the needy

A tuna dragon took shape in Costa Mesa on Saturday morning.

Inside Surfas Culinary District at the South Coast Collection, a team of about six people stacked cans of chili to make the outer wall of a castle where a dragon made out of tuna cans would eventually perch.

A chocolate sword would complete the display.

"It's the sword of indulgence," Rebecca Kaminsky joked.

She and a group from Building Trades Network in Santa Ana were one of three teams practicing building structures made from thousands of cans of food.

The completed works will be on display at SOCO until Aug. 27, but that's just a warmup for the main event.

The Orange County Food Bank will benefit from the sixth annual Canstruction Orange County at South Coat Plaza, where food structures will be on display through September.

Teams like Kaminsky's will turn literal tons of nonperishables into displays like the "Wreck-It Ralph" being built across the parking lot in the OC Mart Mix on Saturday.

Alicia Humphrey and her team were working on a flat portrait of the character from the 2012 Disney movie that bears his name.

"Our goal is just to have it stand the entire time," Humphrey said.

Her team spent about $3,000 finding cans with the perfect shape and color to create an 8-foot-tall face.

"There's not that many hot pink cans out there," she said.

Orange County's Canstruction is just one piece of the international event, where design and construction professionals build structures out of nonperishable food and then donate it to those in need.

At the end of Canstruction OC, the thousands of cans are given to Orange County Food Bank.

That's added up to almost $50,000, or 400,000 pounds of food, donated to the food bank during the last six years, according to a news release.

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