Fight against hunger also looks at nutrition

LIHU‘E — All of the Kaua‘i credit unions concluded their “End Hunger in 2012” campaign May 31, and on Friday, collected at the Kaua‘i Independent Food Bank to see the fruits of their labor.

Kelvin Moniz, the KIFB food resources director, said the credit unions collectively came up with 6,673 pounds of food and $7,384.18 during the campaign period, which spanned May 15 through 31.

“We are excited that Garden Island Federal Credit Union raised the most monetary donations for this food drive,” said Kim Tamaoka, marketing coordinator for GIFCU, in an email. “We raised $3,146 and 647.73 pounds of food and our staff hosted two flea markets and a bake sale in this effort. We are so proud of everyone’s hard work and dedication to this great cause.”

The Kaua‘i Community Federal Credit Union’s Lihu‘e Branch, had earlier announced its collection of 3,556.23 pounds of food for its branch, the KCFCU ‘ohana contributing 5,038.73 pounds of food and $3,105.17 in cash.

Moniz said all of the credit unions matter in their contributions, with the Kekaha Federal Credit Union ending with 141 pounds, the Waimea branch KCFCU at 55 pounds, the Kaumakani FCU ending with 52 pounds, the ‘Ele‘ele branch of KCFCU at 69 pounds, the McBryde FCU at 179 pounds, the Koloa FCU at 82 pounds, the Kukui Grove branch of KCFCU at 1,293 pounds, the Lihu‘e branch of KCFCU at 3,685 pounds, the GIFCU at 670 pounds, the Kaua‘i Teachers FCU at 86 pounds, the Kaua‘i Government FCU at 140 pounds and the Kapa‘a branch of KCFCU at 219 pounds.

Earlier in the morning, Moniz and Jona Villon were at the Boys & Girls Club’s Lihu‘e summer program where B&G Lihu‘e Program Director Angela Agustin was distributing healthy snacks to its summer program students at the Lihu‘e Court.

“The partnership we have with the Kaua‘i Independent Food Bank allows us to serve healthy snacks to the 50 enrolled students we have in the summer program,” Agustin said. “Of the amount of students, about half are residents of Lihu‘e Court and the remainder come from the community.”

Agustin said the program, open Mondays through Fridays from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. has parents packing lunch for the students, but in many cases, that is not enough for the students.

Without the help of the KIFB, they would have to revert to getting snacks like chips and other drinks instead of the fresh fruit, milk, yogurt and other healthy options they have for the children.

“Right now, this program is working well and we’re hoping we can continue this program for our after-school program where we have been averaging about 130 to 140 students enrolled and servicing about 60 students,” Agustin said.

Moniz said the Boys & Girls Club’s Lihu‘e program is modelled after the B&G Waimea Clubhouse Keiki Cafe after-school program where KIFB provides, in partnership with the Children’s Discovery Museum, a healthy snack each day after school.

The program also ties in with an earlier commitment by Rowena Cobb, the KIFB board president, who said one of the food bank’s goals is to provide more nutritious food for keiki during the KIFB Mahalo luncheon where plans for 2012 were unveiled.

Brian Alston, the Lihu‘e Court resident manager, said they are excited about having the Boys & Girls Club program and the partnership it has with KIFB at its housing facility.

“This is a great program,” Alston said. “We’re happy to have it here for our residents and the community. We always work for ways to open Lihu‘e Courts to other people in the community, and to have outside participation in the program is excellent.”

Some of these programs had the fire department providing blood pressure testing and a monthly bingo night for kupuna where the department invites vendors to participate, he said.

Alston said Lihu‘e Court has 173 units with about 500 people in its population, about 60 to 70 percent of the people being young children, most of them under 10 years of age.

The healthy snack component is part of the comprehensive Boys & Girls Club summer program, Agustin said, noting the help she receives comes from teen age students in high school or college.

“United we serve,” she said. “We try to teach the students to connect and the importance of giving back.”

As an example, she noted that during the Wednesday excursion to Po‘ipu Beach, the students conducted a beach cleanup before donning their swimsuits and having fun in the water, and on a planned trip to Koke‘e, will be working with the groups up there on a service project before enjoying a hike.

Agustin said they’ve also started a small garden, Moniz saying he could help with some seeds from the KIFB Plant-A-Row program, where all the students need do is turn in a portion of what they grow.

She said they’ll also get a group of students together to volunteer during a planned July food drive.

Visit www.kauaifoodbank.org for more information on the KIFB.

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