For the two weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, the Broadway stage and the Met will have to share the Big Apple spotlight with … sculptures made out of canned food.

Canstruction, a unique national charity dedicated to fighting hunger in America, oversees the design competition, which charges teams of construction industry professionals to design and build the structures using canned goods. Thin — ¼-inch at most — cardboard and tape are on the short list of materials that are allowed as stabilizing and leveling elements.

Cheri Melillo, national executive director at Canstruction, calls the New York contest the charity's “flagship competition,” but it's just one of nearly 50 that will be held between July 2004 and April 2005 in cities all across the country and in Canada. The entries will be on display at the New York Design Center from November 11–24. Admission to the exhibit will be a can of food — donated, like those used in all Canstruction projects, to a local food bank. Melillo says that, nationally, the competition brings in more than one million pounds of food.

Competitions are held in cooperation with industry associations, such as local chapters of the AIA. For more information or to find out if Canstruction is already in your area, visit

This edible version of Bob The Builder, built by a team from Bobbitt Design Build in Raleigh, N.C., uses cans of tomato sauce, chicken broth, spaghetti, tuna, chicken breast, lime gelatin, and several varieties of beans.