Canstruction is the most unique food charity in the world. Since 2007, this organization has been making a difference in the lives of those who suffer from hunger. Teams are given 12 hours to build a structure of their choice out of cans of food. These structures are judged in categories ranging from “Best Design” to “Best Use of Labels,” and then put on display for the community to see. After viewing, all the cans used in the structures are distributed to four local food banks: Interfaith Nutrition Network, Island Harvest, Long Island Cares – The Harry Chapin Food Bank, and the NEST of Nassau Community College.
H2M has been involved with Canstruction from the beginning, and have always had a solid group of participants. The team is always evolving, whether it be new emerging young professionals joining in or older members now bringing their children to help. While things have changed through the years, there’s been one constant – the involvement of H2Mer, Andrea Sobocinski.
Andrea has been with H2M for 15 years beginning her career in the Accounting Department and eventually bringing her skill set over to the Marketing Department in her current role of CRM Administrator. She is involved in several H2M extra circular activities ranging from the Young Professionals Committee to softball and volleyball; while also presenting at software conventions and representing H2M. Andrea is a “go to” for many people throughout the company. She is an endless source of knowledge and is always willing to go the extra mile.
When Andrea’s coworkers/friends first became involved with Canstruction, Andrea, self-proclaimed “avid participator,” began helping out. Upon being more involved in the process, Andrea says that the feeling of giving back and excited energy from her friends made her want to continue with this organization week after week; eventually becoming year after year.
Andrea joined the Canstruction Long Island committee in 2014, where she would assist with different tasks to make the organization and yearly event run smoother. In 2015, she became H2M’s Team Captain, leading the team to win the Structural Ingenuity award for their “Chasing Hunger to Extinction” structure; Juror’s Favorite and People’s Choice award for their “Found Dory, Now Let’s Find a Solution to Hunger” structure in 2016; Honorable Mention for their 2017 “Winter is Coming – We Will Not Let Them Starve” structure; and the Structural Ingenuity award for their 2018 structure “As We Live…a Life of Ease…Everyone of Us…Has All We Need.”
This year, Andrea became a Director on the Board leading the communications side of all things Canstruction Long Island. Part of Andrea’s decision to join the board came from her goal of wanting to make people more aware of the organization and the various ways they can be involved.
“I want more people to be aware of this organization because the architecture, engineering, and construction industry really does a lot to give back to the community, but this type of giving back is unique in the sense that we’re able to use our talents to create something in the process,” said Andrea.
Build Day, which happens on October 29 this year, is a 12 hour period when all teams build their structure. There are many people from H2M that come to support and join in the build. There’s enough participants that H2M can have people take certain shifts to reduce stress levels and give others a break period.
“The purpose of all of our meetings throughout the year is to make Build Day less stressful; but, regardless of how many times we practice, the level of complexity of our structure will always bring some game-day pressure,” said Andrea.
During Build Day, Andrea really enjoys seeing younger H2M staff members emerge as leaders and direct more senior staff without hesitation. “It’s fun to see the different people stepping in and directing. Most of the younger team members take on a director role over senior staff because they’ve been so involved. This becomes their baby, and they’re confident in leading the team.”
Andrea’s journey with Canstruction Long Island does not go unnoticed. H2M President/CEO, Richard Humann, P.E., says, “Andrea has been and continues to be one of those H2Mers that always steps up to volunteer her time and talents to whatever corporate and charitable initiatives we are undertaking. I’m not at all surprised to see her rise to a role as member of the Canstruction Board and leader of the organization’s communications. She has led H2M’s Canstruction involvement for years, and her commitment is an example of the value we wish to bring to our communities. She should be proud of her accomplishments, as I know I am.”
This year’s Canstruction structures will be on display at the RXR Plaza in Uniondale, New York from October 31 through November 18, 2019. Good luck to all participants!