LIHUE — Thursday marked the end of the Kauai Independent Food Bank’s Spring Healthy Food and Fund drive, and KIFB personnel were busy making food pickups around the island.
With a goal of $40,000 and 40,000 pounds of food, a visit by Isabel Gampon, an eighth grade student at the Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School, and the reigning Miss Junior Teen Hawaii, dropped off a $555 donation under the 2-for-1 donation campaign funded by the Hale Uluwehi program under The Hawaii Community Foundation.
KIFB personnel, including executive director Kelvin Moniz, programs manager Leona Perez, and warehouse supervisor Rizaldy Tolentino, were at the Moikeha Building to accept the results of the County of Kauai’s in-house food drive.
Cyndi Ayonon, the coordinator of the county’s drive, said the unofficial tally from the collection amounted to 3,396 pounds of food and $2,838 in cash contributions.
“Isabel’s always wanted to do something to give back,” said Ray Gampon, Isabel’s mother. “When I read about the 2-for-1 program, Isabel got really excited and started texting everyone.”
On the road leading to the Miss Junior Teen Hawaii crown, Isabel did a service project for KIFB where she contributed food to help needy families during the holidays.
“She never forgot the experience,” Ray said. “She’s been fired up and after being crowned wanted to do something to give back. This was perfect.”
Isabel said when people found out she was collecting money, they gave freely.
“To give this to help feed people who are hungry and for the community is such a good feeling,” Isabel said. “Saturday, I was helping pin sashes to survivors at the Relay for Life, and there was this one lady who was just so happy that I was doing this for her. It made me feel really good that a simple thing like this can make such a difference.”
Ayonon said the county’s food collection was made more exciting by creating competition between the different departments on who could collect the most in either funds or food.“We learn by doing,” Ayonon said. “Last year we did a drive, and this year, it’s a little better. The next one will be even better.”
Perez said KIFB will still make collections for the spring food drive over the next few days.