NAWILIWILI — With the approaching holidays, the Kauai Independent Food Bank has seen an increase in the amount of people visiting the Ulu Wehi, or emergency food program.
“We usually do the emergency foods on Thursdays,” Kelvin Moniz, KIFB executive director, said Friday. “But we can usually put together a box for people when they come in. We’ll be closed Monday, Christmas Eve, and Tuesday, Christmas Day. That’s why we’re open today. We’ll also be back Wednesday.”
As he spoke, a donor stopped by with a contribution of assorted goods that filled a wagon.
“This is enough for a meal,” Moniz said. “We have everything here to make a meal for a good-sized family.”
Leona Perez, the KIFB programs manager, said the holiday deliveries for families in the Backpack Program went out last week to avoid the confusion and excitement of the last day of school before the winter break. A similar delivery was done ahead of Thanksgiving.
“We had turkeys, rice and fresh vegetables,” Perez said. “There were a total of 173 turkeys, rice and fresh carrots, onions and potatoes that went out last week.”
Over the past week, KIFB contributions have come from a wide range of sources, including 799 pounds of food from the Kilauea School, 343 pounds from the Hilton Garden Inn, 150 pounds of food from the Ae Kamalii Preschool, and another 150 pounds of food from the Kahalani condos where organizers asked for food contributions from Christmas party guests.
“Rizalde Tolentino just picked up 236 pounds from the Kauai High School Student Government this morning,” Moniz said. “He also had a run to Princeville for 115 pounds of food contributed by the St. Regis Hotel.”
“Rizalde was a stickler on the numbers,” Moniz added. “He wouldn’t give that extra pound to the Kilauea Elementary School kids to make it 800 pounds. Those kids were really cute. They formed a bucket brigade from the cafeteria to the van and passed the food from student to student with Rizalde at the end.”
Other contributions came last Friday when the Ohana Bingo program at the Kukui Grove Center netted $90 and 45 pounds of food. Additionally, the Kukui Grove Center pledged a $1,500 cash contribution.
The Holiday Keiki Bash at The Shops at Kukuiula netted $666 in cash and 325 pounds of food. Additionally, The Shops at Kukuiula pledged $1,000 toward the Kauai Independent Food Bank’s holiday drive.
The holiday food and fund drive continues through Dec. 30. Contributions may be dropped off at any of the Kauai fire stations, or at the KIFB facilities on Nawiliwili Road.
Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or email@example.com.