Volunteers needed for food drive

Volunteers are needed to help collect food and funds for the Kaua‘i Independent Food Bank Summer Food Drive Day, Saturday, said Judy Lenthall, KIFB executive director.

About 140 volunteers are needed to help man eight collection sites from Hanalei to Waimea from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

These sites include the Ching Young Village in Hanalei, Foodland in the Princeville Shopping Center, Safeway at Kaua‘i Village in Waipouli, Walmart, Kukui Grove Center, Koloa Big Save, ‘Ele‘ele Big Save and Ishihara Market in Waimea.

When schools closed May 26, it meant summer had arrived for thousands of students. But for thousands more, it meant no school lunches, sometimes the only source of food for school-aged students whose families are coping with the tight economy.

“On Kaua‘i, thousands of keiki won’t eat lunch today,” Lenthall said. “And, many won’t have a full nutritious meal at all.”

Envoy Larry Groenleer of The Salvation Army, administrator of the Kokua Soup Kitchen, shared the same concern, noting that during the summer months, the amount of people being served by the Kokua Soup Kitchen rises significantly.

Lenthall said about 20 percent of the total Kaua‘i population, listed at 67,091 in the 2010 census, depends on KIFB to help feed their families each month.

“The situation is grim,” Lenthall said. “We at KIFB are looking at a 30 percent increase in food demand over the 2010 levels. Those figures were already doubled from the 2008 to 2010 period.”

The Hunger Study 2010 reported the KIFB fed more than 11,000 unduplicated people in 2009, making it the smallest food bank in the state, but feeding the largest percentage of the county population, states the KIFB website.

Demand for food has more than doubled from 58,000 requests for food in 2008 to almost 120,000 requests in 2010. Food distribution has increased from 483,679 pounds in 2008 to more than 730,000 pounds in 2010.

“We’re resorting to having to buy food because the supplies coming into the warehouse are going out as fast as it arrives,” said Kelvin Moniz, KIFB’s director of food resources.

This situation prompted the KIFB to spread its net island-wide to help bring in as much food and monetary donations as possible.

“Don’t just hope that someone else will take action,” Lenthall said. “You have the power to make a difference.”

Food and monetary contributions can be dropped off at any of the eight collection sites Saturday. Contributions can also be made through www.kauaifoodbank.org, the KIFB website.

“Volunteers are the key to making this food drive day a success,” Lenthall said.

To volunteer, call 246-3809, ext 102.

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