HAENA — People were chatting and smiling, happy to be walking away from the Mobile Food Pantry with fresh food in their arms Thursday afternoon.
The Hawaii Foodbank Kauai Branch brought the unit to Hanalei Colony Resort in Haena to give free food to the community. Every Thursday the food bank provides this service to the Haena-Wainiha communities, and have been since the April flood.
“I am very grateful for this. We’re still going through this hard times even though the storm is over,” Sherman Maka said.
Due to health problems, he’s been forced to work less, making money tight. The food bank helps alleviate some of the financial stress.
“I’m really excited for this, and it’s a good thing to have the food bank here,” he said.
Grocery shopping can be complicated because of working around the convoy schedule, Elsa Almaraz of Haena pointed out.
“It’s such an amazing service to our community because no one feels forgotten or left out. There’s lots of fresh fruits and vegetables,” she said.
A colorful array of edible goods were set out for everyone to enjoy, but the supply didn’t last long.
Boxes of fresh produce and other items including starfruit and bananas, milk and yogurt, canned goods, boxes packed with a variety of food, you name it, all was available for people to take home.
Paulina Barsotti is contracted with the Hawaii Foodbank Kauai Branch, and helped in the distribution process. She lives on the North Shore and started working with it at YMCA Camp Naue when food was made available after the April flood.
“The need is still real with the road closures and people losing their jobs,” she said.
Barsotti said the turnout is reflective of how many people continue to need food.
Anahola, Hanalei, Wainiha and Haena residents have been supplied with nearly 200,000 pounds of food and supplies since April 15.
The Hawaii Foodbank Kauai Branch will be back next Thursday at Aunty B’s just down the road in Haena from Hanalei Colony Resort, on the corner of Alamihi Road and Kuhio Highway.
“We’re trying to get the word out there that there are still between 45 to 50 families still in need,” she said.
Monique Rowan is a Wainiha resident who writes periodically for The Garden Island.