Pioneer heart drives food contribution to KIFB

NAWILIWILI — Pioneer Hi-Bred shows it knows how to maximize its food contribution when it arrived with a donation of 1,450 pounds of food to the Kaua‘i Independent Food Bank Friday.

 The contribution was a result of a food drive hosted by the Pioneer Research Station in Waimea and the Kekaha Seed facility, along with the parent company matching funds given by its employees, said Cindy Goldstein, Pioneer’s business and community outreach manager.

Of the 1,450 pounds of food weighed in at the KIFB Nawiliwili facility, the contribution included 55 bags of rice, primarily brown rice. The bag total was derived from the employees’ financial contribution which was matched by Pioneer Hi-Bred.

Brown rice is considered more nutritious and is costlier than the white rice and Kelvin Moniz, the KIFB food resource manager, said they usually use the brown rice to mix with white rice, creating a hapa blend to be distributed to its KIFB’s partners.

In addition to the rice, which made up the greater part of the food contribution, the Pioneer team unloaded miscellaneous grocery contributions from its employees and presented an envelope full of  cash contributions to Frank Ranger, KIFB’s executive director.

“Food is at the heart of what Pioneer Hi-Bred is all about,” said Kristen Ma, one of the Pioneer Hi-Bred employees who delivered the food.

Judith Rivera, Pioneer’s station manager, said in addition to the Friday delivery, Pioneer has a garden at its Kekaha seed facility where squash and other produce is grown and delivered to the food bank.

To date, Pioneer has delivered more than 3,000 pounds of squash with deliveries made each week as the squash matures and reaches harvesting age.

Rivera said Pioneer Hi-Bred has its Kunia station on O‘ahu are cultivating a similar project.

The effort benefits the KIFB Spring Healthy Food and Fund drive, which has been extended until May 15 due to the response from the community, Moniz said last week.

Originally, the spring drive was scheduled to end on April 30, but the community was still responding and KIFB decided to extend the cutoff so people could still  help achieve KIFB’s goal of $100,000 and 100,000 pounds of food.

Earlier in the week, the county’s in-house month-long food drive raised $1,114.76 and more than 2,290 pounds of food.

Starting Monday, the credit unions, spearheaded by Garden Island Federal Credit Union, Kaua‘i Community Federal Credit Union and Kaua‘i Government Employees Federal Credit Union, will launch a food drive for KIFB that runs through May 31.

Credit union members and nonmembers alike are encouraged to drop off food and money to any of the eight credit unions on Kaua‘i, from Kekaha to Kapa‘a.

Additionally, people can still drop off donations at any of the Kaua‘i fire stations from Hanalei to Waimea, or at the KIFB facility in Nawiliwili.

Call 246-3809 ext. 102 for more information.

• Dennis Fujimoto, photographer and staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or dfujimoto@ thegardenisland.com.

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