LIHU‘E – Hunger is not a word those at the Kauai Food Bank take lightly.
“Hunger was the Hawaiian concept of hell,” said Mary Kawena Pukui in her book, “Nani I Ke Kumu” (“Look to the Source”).
In the 1700’s, High Chief Ku‘alii passed the Ko‘owalu Law which, in essence, said, “If anyone tells you ‘I am hungry,’ feed them.”
Coming off a successful holiday food and fund drive, members of the Kauai Food Bank and their supporters gathered Thursday to launch the 12th Annual Healthy Spring Food & Fund Drive.
The Spring Healthy Food & Fund Drive will again feature food-drive locations around the island, with a one-day collection set for April 22, when Kauai Food Bank volunteers will establish collection sites at the Ching Young Village Shopping Center in Hanalei, Kukui Grove Center and Wal-Mart in Lihu‘e, and the Waipouli Town Center, where residents and visitors can drop off either canned food or monetary contributions toward the drive.
At Thursday’s event launching the food drive — set to a cowboy and cowgirl theme — “New sheriffs” was the designation assigned to members of the 2006 board of directors, headed up by President Thomas Lodico, Vice President Paul Douglass, Secretary John Sydney Yamane, and Treasurer John Anderton. Other members of the 2006 board include Mia Foley, Mark Gregory and Paul Ito.
“Head scout” Lenthall introduced the “deputy sheriffs,” who are the staff members of the Nawiliwili facility.
Juliano was introduced as the “campfire projects coordinator,” Panoke had the distinction of being in charge of “posse relations,” Kelvin Moniz was the “trusty sidekick,” Analyn Flores carried the label of “pork and bean counter,” Anthony Koerte was the “all-around cowboy,” Malcom Oyama is the “Kauai Fresh grubmaster,” and the newest member, James Hughes, was the “stagecoach driver.”
In 2005, the Kauai Food Bank staff members and volunteers, working out of a 4,000-square-foot warehouse facility in Nawiliwili, were able to distribute over 822,000 pounds of food.
That was derived from contributions from local residents as well as representatives of other agencies. Local contributions amounted to 26 percent of the total, with the food drive generating another 6 percent. Three percent came from off-island sources, and 65 percent came from local produce and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Food-bank leaders are quick to note that, for every dollar contributed, the Kauai Food Bank officials are able to distribute about $16 worth of groceries.
Distribution went to the Senior Produce program, that accounted for 58 percent of the food. Operators of food pantries handled another 22 percent, with representatives of other agencies taking 12 percent.
The Kauai Food Bank staff members and volunteers serve a network of 80 active member agencies, and feeds about 6,000 people each month, or about 10 percent of the island population.
Of this number, about 25 percent are Kaua‘i’s elderly, and about half of those served are children, statistics on the event program said.
Additionally, the Kauai Food Bank programs include service to group homes, the Kokua Kitchen at The Salvation Army of Kaua‘i, the Kids Cafe at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Hawaii Waimea Clubhouse, emergency walk-ins, and more.
Members of the 2006 advisory board include Liberta Albao, Carol Germo, Mike Ladner, Gregg Gardiner, Donna Nunes, and Chang.
Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, may be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or firstname.lastname@example.org.