PUHI — There was a sense of urgency in Wes Perreira, director of the Hawaii Foodbank Kauai Branch Thursday morning.
“I’m driving today,” Perreira said. “We need to be at the checkpoint (for the convoy) by 1 p.m. And then, we need to wait until 5 p.m. until we can come back out. Imagine your life if you had to work around this schedule. That’s what the people living in Wainiha and Haena go through.”
Food for families in the affected area was already loaded onto the small trailer labeled the Mobile Food Pantry. The trailer was ready to be hitched to Perreira’s pickup. The only thing that remained was the blessing by the Rev. Anthony Rapozo of St. Catherine Church.
“Father Rapozo has jurisdiction over St. Wailliam in Hanalei, where the trailer will be stationed,” Perreira said. “Food and supplies for families affected by the still-closed road will be loaded up and delivered from that point.”
The trailer for the pantry program was made possible through funding by the Kauai United Way and its recent disaster recovery efforts.
“We are very fortunate to have been blessed with funding from our good friends at the Kauai United Way,” Perreira said. “This Mobile Food Pantry will help us transport food and supplies needed by those affected by the April floods and landslides.”
The trailer is a part of the continuing effort by the Hawaii Foodbank and its community partners to help those families affected by the flooding.
“We’ll keep finding ways to get food out there for as long as it’s needed,” Perreira said. “We hope to be able to continue our efforts until the state’s Department of Transportation completes the necessary highway repairs over the next several months and the families’ lives may gradually return to normal.”
Since the heavy rains that took place in April, the Hawaii Foodbank Kauai Branch has been responding to the needs of the victims.
“We have been supplying the affected residents in Anahola, Hanalei, Wainiha and Haena areas since April 15,” Perreira said. “We have had a special focus on families who live in the Wainiha and Haena areas because of the challenging issues with the ongoing highway repair work.”
The response to the April flooding and landslides have seen the Hawaii Foodbank Kauai Branch deliver 193,507 pounds of food and supplies to residents in the affected areas. Perreira said this is in addition to the normal food distribution to the estimated 13,000 Kauai residents in need.
Perreira said it is due to efforts of donors like the Kauai United Way, the foodbank’s food partners like Walmart and Safeway stores, and its network of food pantries, including the Christ Memorial Church, Church of the Pacific, St. William Church, and U-Turn for Christ that all of the disaster response is made possible.
Once the trailer, estimated at $5,000 in cost, is no longer needed for disaster-related work, Perreira said it will used to deliver food and supplies to other food programs around the island.
Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or email@example.com.