WATERTOWN — The Northern New York Community Foundation’s LEAD Council has announced the winners of its first “Canstruction for Northern New York” contest to help reduce food insecurity across the north country.

The project is a group activity to encourage students to team up and construct a fun, themed structure made of donated canned food and other nonperishable food items or hygiene products to support a local food pantry or backpack program of their choice.

The three top teams combined to collect 1,665 canned food and other nonperishable food items or hygiene products that will help restock two school-based backpack programs and a community food pantry.

Additionally, the winning teams will share $1,750 in grant awards to present to three different local nonprofit organizations that participants selected.

With nearly 400 votes cast, Katie Blunden’s statistics class at General Brown High School, Dexter, won the People’s Choice Award for “The Giving Tree.” The class also won the Top Collection Award, with 914 nonperishable food items collected.

The Best Design Award went to the Stage Notes not-for-profit theater group in Watertown for its “canstruction” of “An Evening at the Theatre.”

Participating teams will donate all the items they used to build their sculptures to a local food pantry or backpack program. Each award winner will receive a $500 grant for participants to distribute to a nonprofit of their choice.

General Brown students designated the district’s backpack program to receive their collected items. Students also selected the backpack program as the recipient of two $500 grant awards they won for the People’s Choice Award and the Top Collection Award.

Stage Notes students designated the Rohde Community Center, Adams, to receive the 428 food items they collected and Watertown Lyric Theater as the recipient of the $500 from the design award grant.

South Jefferson High School, Adams, and its LEAD and Sources of Strength students also entered a sculpture in the contest and will receive a $250 grant to award to a nonprofit it plans to select through a vote of the high school student body. The district’s backpack program will receive the 323 food items collected by students.

LEAD stands for Leadership, Engagement, Access, and Direction. The council conducts grant programs for community improvement.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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