Annual Holiday Food and Fund Drive kick-off Look for Kauai Food Bank bags in The Garden Island

The Kauai Food Bank is again asking the support and cooperation of the community to help in their annual Holiday Food and Fund Drive from Nov. 1 – Dec. 15.

There are several ways to help:

– readers of The Garden Island can place non-perishable food items in the paper grocery bag found in the Thursday, Oct. 31 issue of The Garden Island, and in the Wednesday, Nov. 6 issue of the Island Shopper;

– drop off items at any county fire station (Hanalei, Kapa’a, Lihu’e, Kalaheo, Koloa, Hanapepe or Waimea);

– make a donation directly at the Kauai Food Bank, located near Nawiliwili Harbor.

“We may not know how to end poverty on Kaua’i, but we sure know how to create it,” said Judy Lenthall, Kauai Food Bank executive director.

Member agencies of the Kauai Food Bank – including food pantries, low-income child care, senior centers, YWCA, Red Cross, Salvation Army and churches – feed more than 6,000 people each month.

On Kaua’i, the childhood poverty rate is increasing and the Kauai Food Bank feeds more than 3,000 children each month, Lenthall said.

Items most needed during this year’s Food and Fund Drive include cereal; canned foods like pork and beans, meats and fish, soup or stew; sugar-free, low-salt and low-fat foods for special diets; pasta, especially for making spaghetti; and peanut butter.

According to the Hunger Study 2001, conducted by the University of Hawai’i, 20 percent of Kaua’i’s population does not consistently have enough food.

“Feeding 20 percent of our island’s population is a societal problem,” said John Sydney Yamane, Kauai Food Bank board president, “It’s not an individual problem.”

“We need to remedy the illness of hunger for all of Kaua’i’s needy and find a way to cure hunger on Kaua’i,” he added.

Recent research confirms that food insecurity has grave consequences for children. A report funded by ConAgra Foods and prepared by the Center for Hunger and Poverty at Brandeis University in Waltham, Mass. Indicated these facts:

– Children without enough food are: more likely than food-secure children to suffer stunted growth, frequent illness and anemia; under age 3 are hospitalized 33 percent more often; more likely to experience difficulties in social relationships with other children, as well as higher levels of hyperactivity, anxiety and mental health problems; less able to concentrate and achieve at school, and are more likely to repeat school grades, have low test scores, and have frequent absences, tardiness and suspensions.

Income or poverty level alone is not a factor, and research found that children in low-income households who were “food secure” did not show these effects.

The Kauai Food Bank is a non-profit clearinghouse that provides 1.3 million pounds of food and grocery products to more than 100 social and human service agencies across the island.

Sponsors of the Holiday Food Drive this year include The Garden Island Newspaper, Aloha Furniture Warehouse, Kauai Community Federal Credit Union, Kauai Electric and the Rotary Club of Kapa’a.

For each dollar donated to the Kauai Food Bank, $16 worth of groceries can be distributed through networks and member agencies. Individuals, groups and businesses may call the Kauai Food Bank at 246-3809 for more information on participating during the 2002 Holiday Food and Fund Drive. The Kauai Food Bank is a member of the Kauai United Way.

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