Big hearts at KCFCU, Lihu‘e key to food drive

LIHU‘E — The extra effort demonstrated by Concetta Ijima two weekends ago paid off for the Kaua‘i Community Federal Credit Union’s Lihu‘e branch.

Ijima, who opted out of a trip to Honolulu for the annual Floating Lantern Ceremony, instead opened up a food collection station at Kmart, her solo vigil aided by Kaua‘i Independent Food Bank director Frank Ranger, who showed up with some fishnets to aid the collection effort.

The effort was part of the Kaua‘i credit union food drive benefiting the KIFB, and Ijima said the employees at KCFCU’s Lihu‘e branch were going all-out in the effort to try and meet the combined credit unions’ goal of $12,000 and 20,000 pounds of food from May 15 through May 31.

“We also had a bake sale where employees made and contributed baked goods, and the employees made (artificial) flowers from duct tape, which was really popular with the customers,” Ijima said. “We had 100 percent participation; everybody got into it.”

When the dust settled on the drive, Kaua‘i’s credit unions collected 6,200 pounds of food and $7,384, KCFCU vice president Irving Soto said in a memo to the Lihu‘e branch.

“Our members’ donations and your contributions to this very important cause was all worth it and makes all the difference in the world,” Soto said in his memo. “Even though the Kaua‘i Chapter credit unions did not reach our goal, KCFCU did extraordinarily well.”

The Lihu‘e branch topped all KCFCU branches with 3,556.23 pounds of food collected over the 5,038.73 pounds amassed by KCFCU through its four branches.

Employee Lisa DeSilva was presented the award for the “individual with the most weight in food collected” among KCFCU employees at 895 pounds.

In the financial arena, the Kukui Grove branch edged out the Lihu‘e Branch by less than $10, the Kukui Grove branch collecting $1,095.50 to the Lihu‘e branch’s $1,085.67.

Overall, KCFCU collected $3,105.17 through its four branches.

Despite this fierce competition between the two branches, Darrahlyn Ganotisi of the Lihu‘e branch was awarded the individual with the most monetary donations collected among KCFCU employees at $816.

The mission of the Kaua‘i Independent Food Bank is to prevent hunger, provide nutritious food for the hungry and respond to emergencies with all help raised on Kaua‘i staying on Kaua‘i.

Visit www.kauaifoodbank.org 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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