When the Heselgrave family was approached about building a prototype for the upcoming Colossal Christmas Can Contest, 12- year old Rachel Heselgrave jumped at the chance.
Rachel loves Christmas – anything to do with Christmas. So, with the assistance of parents Sarah and Ian and brother Jake, Rachel took on the task of designing and building a sleigh for Santa made with cans and other food items.
The purpose of the contest, hosted by Comox Business in Action, is to create sculptures out of cans of food in the theme of Christmas or winter. After the contest all of the food goes to the Comox Valley Food Bank.
Kathy Penner, co-ordinator with the Comox BIA, says “As an added incentive, there will be cash prizes for the top the three spots — $300 for first, $200 for second and $100 for third.”
The contest will be held Dec. 3 from 1 to 4 p.m. in the Comox Centre Mall. Judging will follow directly after.
Teams must provide their own cans of food. Extra Foods in the Comox Centre Mall will offer a 15-per-cent discount in the form of a food voucher.
“In addition to cans, other non-perishable food items cans be used. And for stability it’s OK to use twine, string, ribbon, elastic bands, zap straps, plywood, and tape. We’ll also allow a few decorative pieces,” Penner adds.
As this is the first time the BIA is hosting such an event, it was decided that it would make sense to have a prototype built that people could see as a sample and to glean some tips for prospective teams.
When asked to describe how she decided what to build and how long the design process took, Rachel says, “I searched online for some ideas, thought about what would be reasonable to build, and what food would be suitable for the food bank. Once we decided on the sleigh, and drew a rough design, then we had to think about the colour and shape of the cans. Then finally we had to figure out how many can we would need. All this took a few hours.”
Rachel continues “And then we went shopping, which took about an hour. It was fun picking out all of the food.”
Sarah and Ian laugh about the looks they were getting from people as they loaded up cases of soup and tuna. The shopping trip resulted in just over 300 items of food.
The prototype was built at home and then dismantled and brought to the former Avon store in the mall and reconstructed. All in all, the Heselgraves calculate the whole process took about eight hours.
They have a few tips to pass on to the teams.
Make sure the cans stack well. Look for cans in case lot sales. Be organized before shopping with a list of colours, shapes and numbers of cans.
When asked what she thought of the whole process, Rachel says “It takes a long time but if you have the time it is really fun! And the best part is that all of these cans go to the food bank!”
And thoughts from Sarah and Ian, “This was really Rachel’s project, but it was great to have our whole family supporting her ideas and seeing it turn into the creation Rachel imagined. It was also a fantastic way to support the food bank and important for us to think about the many people all of this food will make a difference for.”
The contest is open to the public and one stipulation is that one person on the team must be 15 or under.
For businesses or organizations that already have a program to collect food for the food bank, this could be a fun and competitive way to help others. Think of challenging your competitors or neighbouring businesses.
Registration forms can be filled out and dropped off during business hours at Otter’s Kitchen Cove at 1761A Comox Ave. in Comox.
A $10 cash deposit is required at time of registration. The deposit will be returned the day of the contest. Registration is limited and on a first-come basis.
The sleigh prototype is on display at the mall in the former Avon location.
For more information, e-mail email@example.com or call 250-703-1315.
— Comox Business in Action