The late Cheri Melillo, a member of the Society of Design Administration (SDA), conceived and held the first Canstruction event in New York City in 1992. During Cheri's tenure as the SDA's National Public Relations Chair she developed Canstruction with the vision to unite the design and construction community in a series of friendly competitions that actually improved the lives of the underprivileged and under served.
Cheri served as volunteer President and Executive Director for 17 years before her passing in December 2009 of brain cancer. Nicholas Telesca became the active President and Executive Director in January 2010. Subsequently, the National headquarters were relocated from the city of New York to Atlanta, Georgia.
Canstruction has grown to become one of the largest contributors to food banks in the world. Since its humble beginning in 1992, Canstruction has held design/build competitions in over 140 cities world-wide donating over 15 million pounds of canned food to alleviate the plague of hunger and malnutrition.
We cannot measure Canstruction's success merely based on pounds of food raised but also on its impact on hunger issues. Each year, over 30,000 volunteers come together to make these Canstruction events a success. That's 30,000 hunger relief ambassadors released into their respective communities with heightened awareness of the consequences of hunger and malnutrition. Canstruction is not an end, but a beginning of a larger ambitious effort to relieve hunger. The creative and design communities play a pivotal role in this larger endeavor, such as developing new ways to broadly communicate quality nutritional practices, and seeking and nurturing partnerships with organizations and individuals who propose and advocate innovative hunger relief strategies, showing that "One CAN Make A Difference."