This year, Redoubt Elementary’s annual benefit for the Kenai Peninsula Food Bank took the form of a “can-struction” competition that resulted in over 1,500 pounds of food being delivered to the Food Bank. “We decided to do something different this year,” said Sharon Hale, director of fun activities at Redoubt Elementary, “and it ended up being our biggest year ever.”


“The creativity was amazing,” Pegge Erkeneff, KPBSD communications director and official can-struction judge told the Dispatch. “I saw one can-struction in Mrs. Lamphier’s class and asked if it was a turkey and the kids all answered, ‘NO!’ Then I asked, ‘Is it a road runner?’ and they said, ‘NO! It’s a road-urkey and a baby road-urkey that were made out of loads of great dry goods and canned food,” said Erkeneff.

The can-structions ranged from road-urkeys to can-castles, can-snowmen and even a can-cake with a candle. The class chosen as Judges’ Choice won the honor of delivering all the food contributions to the Food Bank.

After lengthy deliberation, the Judges’ Choice went to Mrs. Walter’s fourth-grade class for their can-castle, complete with drawbridge and moat.

“My class was so excited. Every day they kept bringing in more and more items and were determined to win. It was a great way to teach the historic meaning of Thanksgiving where native people helped pilgrims who didn’t have enough to eat to survive. Today giving to the Food Bank is in the same spirit,” said Mrs. Walters.

Last Tuesday Mrs. Walter’s class loaded into a KPBSD bus along with the 1,500 pounds of food that were collected and headed to the KP Food Bank for a special community service day.

“When they backed the truck and bus up I was overwhelmed,” said Food Bank Executive Director Linda Swarner. “I told the kids it takes 1.5 pounds of food for each meal. Their first load weighed in at over 600 pounds, and they ended up bringing in over 1,500 pounds, about 1,000 meals. I couldn’t be prouder of them. These kids are my heroes.”

After unloading the bus and Fire Marshal Gary Hale’s red pick-up truck, they were given a tour of the food bank and then had lunch with folks at Fireweed Diner.

Fourth grader Jonas Scott was of the can-castle builders. “It was pretty cool. I didn’t know where the food bank even was until we got here, and it means a lot to know we can help people at Thanksgiving,” said Jonas.

“I couldn’t help but get a tear in my eye when one of the teachers told me that a student had told the class that last year they had gotten their Thanksgiving dinner food from the food bank, so this year she spent her own allowance to buy for the canned food drive,” said Hale.

See PHOTOS, page 4