Corporate donation from A&B will help Kauai Food Bank get holiday meals to island’s hungry

A combination of recent social service reforms, slower economy and other factors has meant there still is a significant segment of the Kaua’i population that doesn’t always have enough to eat.

That’s why the recent $10,000 donation from the Alexander & Baldwin Foundation to the Kauai Food Bank will come in so handy as the Nawiliwili-based nonprofit agency prepares to offer holiday meals including turkeys to those in need.

“Our research showed that over the past year, the demand for the food bank’s services has increased dramatically, probably the result of the slowed economy and recent social service reforms,” said Allen Doane, president of both A&B, Inc. and the A&B Foundation.

“This donation is intended to help build the food bank’s resources and boost its ability to feed Kaua’i’s hungry families,” Doane said.

The grant is from the A&B Foundation’s Manawale’a program, established earlier this year to provide assistance to those in the community temporarily affected by unemployment or under-employment, largely as the result of the events on and after Sept. 11.

“Manawale’a” means “a generous heart,” or “to give freely and willingly,” in Hawaiian.

The foundation’s goal was to provide support for needy residents’ most basic needs, first identifying food and housing and those agencies regarded as efficient providers of assistance in those areas.

Statewide, the Manawale’a program gave $150,000 earlier this year for emergency housing needs, and the Kauai Food Bank donation is part of $100,000 that has been distributed statewide for emergency food assistance.

A&B Foundation Vice President Meredith Ching made the presentation to Judith “Judy” Lenthall, Kauai Food Bank executive director, and John Sydney Yamane, Kauai Food Bank board president.

Representatives of various A&B Kaua’i operations, including Kauai Coffee Company, Kauai Commercial Company, A&B Properties and Matson Navigation Company, were on hand for the donation ceremony at the Kauai Food Bank warehouse.

“A&B has its roots and, more importantly, its future, firmly planted in Hawai’i, and we are deeply committed to the Hawai’i community,” said Doane.

“With this one-time, special grant, our desire is to help the Kauai Food Bank maintain a level food supply that will enable them to respond in some way to each request they receive,” he said.

“A&B has helped the food bank before, and we are delighted that they continue to partner with us to serve the people of Kaua’i,” said Lenthall. “This will help in our holiday planning, as we try to provide holiday meals for as many people as need them.”

In fiscal 2001, the Kauai Food Bank distributed 1,333,973 pounds of food.

During the first eight months of calendar 2002, the agency distributed 907,153 pounds of food, some 355,597 pounds more than given away during the same period last year.

The Kauai Food Bank’s annual spring food and fund drive netted 16,199 pounds of food and $19,483.05, and the goal of the holiday food drive is 20,000 pounds of food and $20,000.

The holiday food drive runs from Friday, Nov. 1 through Sunday. Dec. 15.

The Kauai Food Bank gathers food from the community, local grocers, local growers (through is Hui Mea’ai program), and from off-island sources, and distributes food to over 100 charitable agencies that give food directly to qualified individuals, at no charge to the individuals.

The A&B Foundation is funded by business activities of A&B, Inc. and its subsidiaries.

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