PRINCEVILLE — The North Shore Lions Club got to sample fruits of their labor recently at the Church of the Pacific in Princeville.
“If they come, we’ll feed them,” said Beverley Tobias, a Church of the Pacific volunteer manning the grill in the church’s gazebo. “We’ve got some grilled corn which will be cut to season the salad, and some onions and tomato.”
John Gordon, president of the North Shore Lions, was more concerned about getting at least 25 people out to help create a 50 by 60-foot plot for a vegetable garden which will supplement the food pantry program for the Church of the Pacific.
“This project is in cooperation with the Church of the Pacific and the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation,” Gordan, the outgoing Lions president, said. “When we complete the project, and we must have at least 25 people involved, the Weinberg Foundation will award a $10,000 grant to a nonprofit of the Lions choosing.”
Gordan said the club selected the Church of the Pacific’s food pantry program as the recipient of the grant, making the project a double winner for the church.
“This provides a double benefit for people needing help from the food pantry,” the outgoing Lions president said, pleased with the efforts of about 40 people who turned out. “The church’s food pantry will be receiving a new source of fresh produce as well as additional funding to purchase food.”
Pastor Glenn Frazier of the Church of the Pacific was clearly overjoyed with the event, flitting from station to station with efforts to clear grass stumps, break dirt clods and wheeling trash from the cleared area.
“We’re always looking for food,” Frazier said. “We do business with the Hawai‘i Food Bank, Kaua‘i Chapter, as well as the Kaua‘i Independent Food Bank. We need so much food we’re always looking for the best quality at the lowest cost.”
Frazier said the lot will bring the church’s garden area to about an acre in size and fits in with the church’s third phase, and to thank the Lions for their efforts, the church was preparing lunch using produce and items from the church’s garden so the Lions would have a taste of the quality going into the church-produced products.
“Our goal has been to feed people who are food insufficient on the North Shore and get the finest quality food,” Frazier said.
Currently, Frazier said farmers bring fresh produce to the church and gleaning teams go out into the community weekly to add to the fresh produce offerings which are distributed between the Church of the Pacific, St. Williams Church in Hanalei, and more recently, St. Catherine’s Church in Kapa‘a.
Frazier said the Church of the Pacific hosts a weekly food distribution through its pantry program which sees between 180 to 250 people coming through every Wednesday starting at 4:15 p.m.
“This food pantry program is at least 14 years old,” Frazier said. “This was the very first program undertaken by the church when it was reorganized.”
He said the success of the program is so great that even while church volunteers were helping the Lions with the new garden plot, others were assisting at the Foodland store in Princeville with the Kaua‘i Independent Food Bank summer food drive.
“We’re the only ones who will be handling the Foodland post,” Frazier said. “Last week, we had volunteers helping the Hawai‘i Food Bank drive. This week, we’re with the KIFB because we support both.”
• Dennis Fujimoto, photographer and staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or dfujimoto@ thegardenisland.com.