United Way kicks off 2022-23 campaign with food sculpture contest

Sep. 1—United Way of Southwest Missouri and Southeast Kansas will launch its 2022-23 campaign with the United We Can food sculpture challenge to benefit area food pantries.

The challenge is a contest in which businesses, organizations and other groups build sculptures made primarily from canned and other nonperishable food items as well as other basic need items. United Way will distribute the collected items to area food pantries afterward.

"Our campaign theme this year is 'United We Can,' so we wanted to do something different for our kickoff event that tied into the theme," said Duane Dreiling, executive director of United Way, in a statement. "We feel this is a perfect way for businesses and organizations to have fun and help out our area food pantries at the same time."

The rules are simple: Teams can design and build any kind of sculpture. Props, including signs, and other supporting materials can be used, but sculptures must be made up of at least 50% nonperishable food items and/or basic-need items. Items cannot be painted, taped or have the labels removed or altered in any way that makes them unsuitable for donation, nor can they be expired.

Participants can choose to construct their sculptures at Northpark Mall in Joplin or Meadowbrook Mall in Pittsburg, Kansas, during regular hours between Tuesday, Sept. 6, and Sunday, Sept. 11. The sculptures will be on display Sept. 13-20. Entrants may also choose to build their sculptures in their office or workplace instead of the mall.

All entries will be featured on the United Way Facebook page. Public voting will take place Sept. 13-20.

Awards will be given for the categories of Fan Favorite using 250 items or less, Fan Favorite using 251 items or more, Tallest Sculpture and Sculpture with Most Items Used.

Teams should register by contacting the United Way office in Joplin at 417-624-0153 or Pittsburg at 620-231-8140, or by emailing bburk@unitedwaymokan.org. Once the sculpture is finished, teams can complete the online form and submit a photo at unitedwaymokan.org/unitedwecan.