New food bank blessed

PUHI — Linda Chu Takayama, Hawai‘i Foodbank chair, used figures from the “Hunger in America 2010” study to describe the scope of hungry people on Kaua‘i.

Takayama was joined by Dick Grimm, the Hawai‘i Foodbank president, and a host of Hawai‘i Foodbank staff and board members who flew to Kaua‘i in celebration of the new Puhi facility, Thursday afternoon.

Grimm and some of the Hawai‘i Foodbank board members were joined by some of the Kaua‘i advisory board members in attending the launch of the 2011 Kaua‘i United Way campaign earlier in the day. The Hawai‘i Foodbank is one of 28 participating agencies under the KUW umbrella.

In return, many of the KUW agency members turned out for the open house and blessing of the Hawai‘i Foodbank, Kaua‘i facility, joined by representatives of the Hawai‘i Foodbank O‘ahu office and representatives of several of the member distribution agencies.

Wes Perreira, the Hawai‘i Foodbank Kaua‘i warehouse supervisor, said the Puhi facility features a full-length insect screen which protects the main entry where food from individuals, corporate food drives and purchases from the Feeding America program arrives.

From there, the food is processed and sorted for distribution by member agencies.

A large bin of assorted canned goods highlight the agency selection area, Perreira noting that good canned goods are like gold because of their portability and convenience in storage for people in need.

Takayama said almost 18 percent of Kaua‘i’s population, or 11,100 people, is receiving emergency food assistance through the Hawai‘i Foodbank network. Of the people being served, 4,107 children and 1,110 seniors make up the list

She added that 73 percent of client households served on Kaua‘i are food insecure, meaning they do not always know where their next meal will come from. Of these households, 66 percent include children in the household.

The Hawai‘i Foodbank Kaua‘i can use volunteers to help with salvage and donation sorting, special events, and the Hawai‘i Foodbank food drives.

People interested in volunteering can call the Hawai‘i Foodbank volunteer facilitator at (808) 482-2224, ext. 331, or email volunteer@hawaiifoodbank.org.

Monetary contributions are also welcome with a suggested $10, enabling the Hawai‘i Foodbank and its Kaua‘i branch to provide for 25 meals.

The Hawai‘i Foodbank Kaua‘i accepts cash, checks and credit cards.

When Hurricane ‘Iniki swept through Kaua‘i in 1992, the Hawai‘i Foodbank responded by sending 1.5 million pounds of food to relief sites across the island, the effort earning the organization statewide recognition as an important disaster response organization.

In 1994, the Hawai‘i Foodbank helped establish a 501(c)(3) so Kaua‘i could have its own foodbank, states a Hawai‘i Foodbank, Kaua‘i Branch fact sheet.

In 2010, the Kaua‘i Foodbank changed its name to the Kaua‘i Independent Foodbank and the Hawai‘i Foodbank established another operation on Kaua‘i, in the Puhi Industrial Park, for its food distribution.

The Hawai‘i Foodbank, Kaua‘i Branch, and the Kaua‘i Independent Food Bank operate independently in serving families across the island.

Visit www.hawaiifoodbank.org for more information.

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