LIHU‘E — The need for food is present, and more than 1,500 meal packages were distributed between three different food distribution programs over the past two days in Lihu‘e and the Po‘ipu area.
“People need the food,” said Andra Ota of the county’s Department of Parks and Recreation department that administers the Kupa‘a Kaua‘i food distribution program that started Tuesday with distribution sites in Lihu‘e, Kapa‘a, and Kilauea. “There’s been little change in the unemployment numbers; people don’t have the unemployment extra benefits, and the quarantine is still in effect. Yes, the people are really needing the help.”
Ota was one of the Parks and Rec staff that manned the Koloa Neighborhood Center, Wednesday when the West section of the Kupa‘a Kaua‘i distribution started its program.
“People want food that can stretch,” said Kelvin Moniz of the Kaua‘i Independent Food Bank, who along with the Hawai‘i Foodbank, Kaua‘i Branch, are partners in the Kupa‘a Kaua‘i food distribution program that will continue weekly through the end of December. “I dropped in on the opening at Koloa, and the selection we provided should keep people fed for a couple of days.”
More than 600 meal packages were budgeted for the first Kokua No Ka ‘Ohana food distribution presented by the Hawai‘i Foodbank, Kaua‘i Branch, Thursday morning at the Vidinha Stadium parking lot where the overflow of drive-through motorists snaked onto Ho‘olako Road while waiting for the distribution to start.
Funded through federal Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security Act funds, the Hawai‘i Foodbank, Kaua‘i Branch will host a distribution at different locations around the island each week for the next eight weeks.
Thursday’s food package included chicken, saimin, potatoes, onions, hamburger, bread, and eggs.
“The Hawai‘i Foodbank, Kaua‘i Branch will have the same set up when they come to do a distribution at the St. Raphael’s Church in Koloa,” said Tina Brun of the St. Raphael’s food pantry program. “That means that instead of our distribution in October, we’re planning on making meals for the homeless people.”
Chyenne Beach, the Hawai‘i Foodbank, Kaua‘i Branch community development specialist, said the next Kokua No Ka ‘Ohana distribution will take place next week at Common Grounds in Kilauea. Kokua No Ka ‘Ohana will have one Saturday event when it joins with Corteva Agriscience during the Westside’s annual harvest festival.
“This one is too good to pass up,” said Diann Hartman, the Grand Hyatt Kaua‘i Resort and Spa director of marketing communications. “Lasagna? I passed on the other distributions to let others have the food, but this lasagna is too good to pass up. And, I need to get something for my cat.”
More than 630 meals were scheduled for Lasagna Night, the Grand Hyatt Kaua‘i’s food distribution for its furloughed employees presented in a drive-through format through the resort’s porte cochere.
“This is our biggest one, yet,” said Dan King, the Grand Hyatt Kaua‘i general manager. “It’s really nice to see all those employees and their smiling faces.”
Coordinated through the help of the Kaua‘i Independent Food Bank and volunteers from the West Kaua‘i Lions Club, the Zonta Club of Kaua‘i, and the East Kaua‘i Lions Club, the employees were treated to a centerpiece family-sized pan of frozen lasagna accompanied by fresh heads of lettuce for a side of salad. Other treats included assorted snacks that included energy and protein bars, assorted canned goods, a case of saimin, eggs, sweet potatoes, and more.
Additionally, Jennifer Pimsaguan and her family from Natural Pet Hawai‘i supplemented the human food with food and treats for pets to the tune of an estimated 5,000 pounds.
“I like doing this food distribution,” Pimsaguan said. “These people all have pets, and they’re all waiting to get back to work. I know they can use this help.”
In addition to the Kupa‘a Kaua‘i distribution that continues from Tuesday to Friday, Moniz said the Kaua‘i Independent Food Bank is working with the Sheraton Kaua‘i, Coconut Beach for a food distribution for its furloughed employees, Oct. 1.
Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or [email protected]