Credit unions crush food bank goal

NAWILIWILI — Kauai Independent Food Bank board President Rowena Cobb had to put on her glasses to get a better look at the check Wednesday morning at the KIFB facility.

“I have a hard time seeing the numbers,” Cobb said, re-adjusting her glasses for an even better look. “This is absolutely amazing.”

Representatives of Kauai’s credit unions gathered at the KIFB facility to present a check for $32,041.38, representing proceeds from its Fifteen in Fifteen ($15,000 in 15 weekdays) food drive benefiting the Kauai Independent Food Bank.

“This does not include the amount of food we collected in addition to the funds,” said Charlene Garcia of Garden Island Federal Credit Union. “We had a goal of $15,000 when we started in June. This is far beyond the goal we set out to achieve.”

Kelvin Moniz, KIFB executive director, said the total amount is more than $33,000 when the 946 pounds of collected nonperishable food was added to the presented amount.

“This is our sixth annual food drive,” said Terri Kaniho of Kauai Community Federal Credit Union. “When we found out the Kauai Independent Food Bank needed help with its youth program, namely the Keiki Cafe program, we decided this year’s drive would go toward helping this after-school program, where some of the keiki have their last meal of the day before leaving school.”

The effort included the island’s six credit unions on the island: Kauai Community Federal Credit Union, Garden Island Federal Credit Union, Kauai Government Employees Federal Credit Union, Kauai Teachers Federal Credit Union, Kekaha Federal Credit Union and McBryde Federal Credit Union.

“This is the power of co-ops,” said Corinne King, president of KGEFCU. “The effort was not just the staff of the credit unions, but included the efforts of its members who are residents of our community. This is what can happen when our community members come together to benefit the entire community. This is what can happen when we collaborate instead of only competing.”

Moniz said the Keiki Cafe is only one of its programs for youth, the other being the Backpack program where nutritious food is sent home with keiki to tide them over during weekends when school is not in session.

Cobb, truly appreciative of the efforts of Kauai’s credit unions, said KIFB also offers the Kupuna program where shoppers leave the KIFB literally singing for joy. She invited the credit unions to meet the KIFB board members who will be in attendance Friday during the KIFB birthday bash at the Kauai Veterans Center.

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