CANdemonium at the Mall

April 5, 2023

CANdemonium at the Mall

Missoula, MT: Shoppers at Southgate Mall in Missoula will cross paths with animals built out of canned food during the first three weeks of April as part of Missoula Food Bank & Community Center’s annual CANdemonium event.

For the past 9 years, local engineering and architect firms have paired up with local organizations and businesses to create larger-than-life structures out of canned goods. This year they will be flexing their creative muscles building animals out of pinto beans, pasta, & diced pears and all the food comes back to stock our food bank’s shelves!

CANdemonium is much more than just a creative design and build competition. It is also a chance for the community to learn more about food insecurity being faced by 1 in 5 residents of Missoula County.

“Hunger is a growing problem in Missoula,” says Amy Allison Thompson, Executive Director of MFB&CC. “Last fall, expanded COVID relief food benefits expired for many Missoulians who continue to struggle to feed themselves and their families. An average individual has seen their monthly support cut by $90 and the average family saw cuts of $250.”

The result of these benefit cuts and the ongoing impact of inflation in food prices is that many of the people that the Missoula Food Bank & Community Center serves need to access those services more often and in greater quantities when they do come to shop at the food bank.

“Inflation is affecting our budget as well,” adds Caitlyn Taix, Director of Operations at MFB&CC. “Soup is a staple item we distribute at the food bank and we give out over 4800 cans each month. Last year, we were paying .65 cents a can and now we are paying .85 cents. That means we are paying nearly $1000 more a month just on the soup for Missoulian families.”

All the cans used in the creative animal builds will end up back at the Missoula Food Bank & Community Center and eventually in the grocery bags of people experiencing hunger in our community. Last year, CANdemonium teams donated 19,000 lbs of food valued at $26,000 to the food bank.

The public can watch CANdemonium teams as they build their creations at Southgate Mall Friday, April 7th from 10 am to 4 pm or see the finished products until Friday, April 14th. Folks can vote for their favorite CANimal at or by scanning the QR code on individual teams’ signs. Every dollar donated is a point toward that team for the People’s Choice Award.

Special thanks to MMW Architects, Blackfoot Communications, Parkside Credit Union, HDR, INC., St. Joseph School, WGM, Horizon Credit Union, DJ&A, Lambros Community Foundation, DCI Engineers, onX Maps, PayneWest Insurance, Morrison- Maierle, Grizzly Liquor, Paradigm V3, Opportunity Bank, M Baker International, Sentinel Kiwanis of Missoula, & GAVIN-hanks for their dedication to Missoula food security.

CANstructing a more food secure Missoula