Monica’s Story

Fourteen year old Monica Murphy never thought of herself as a Hunger Fighting SuperKid, she just loved helping people. As a young girl, Monica volunteered at a soup kitchen and she saw first-hand how many people needed this service, especially kids.

At 10 years old, Monica went to New York City with her mother and saw an exhibit where architects built larger than life sculptures out of cans of food. She immediately fell in love with the concept and suggested bringing the project back home to New Jersey as a way to help fight hunger. With the help of her mother, family members and her school, the CANsculpture project was born.

The first CANsculpture was a giant Etch-a-Sketch with Monica’s school’s initials spelled out. As a result of the first the sculpture, approximately 2,000 pounds of food were collected and donated to the Food Bank of Monmouth and Ocean County.

The next year, with the help of her art teacher, a “Cans for Pride” sculpture was created featuring her school’s mascot, a lion which was sculpted out of more than 1,000 pounds of food. Over the next two years, Monica spearheaded the “Kraken Down on Hunger” project, which featured a character from “Pirates of the Caribbean”; and “Our AmeriCAN Spirit” food drives. Together these programs raised 5,000 pounds of food.

In just four years, Monica collected 8,000 pounds of food for her local food bank with the help of community and school. In 2008, she was honored by ShopRite and General Mills for her hunger fighting efforts. Monica was among four children who were selected to grace the front of a limited-edition Cheerios box.

Monica hopes to continue the CANsculpture project through her high school years and beyond and she encourages other schools to pick up on the idea and build their own hunger-fighting sculptures.