Feeding body and mind

  • Courtesy Hawaii Foodbank Kauai Branch

    Kauai Community College Waialeale Project students and leaders check out the new food pantry lockers and food installed by the Hawaii Foodbank Kauai Branch. Shown are Momi Ka‘ahanui, Joana Rodriguez, Lahea Salazar, Michelle Panoke and Chyenne Beach of the Hawaii Foodbank Kauai Branch, Haden Castillo, Siera Alabilla-Lagundino, and Austin Manipon-Harada.

PUHI — Jocelyn Fabiana is a Kauai Community College student and a single mom who has gone through her share of hardships, said Wes Perreira, Hawaii Foodbank Kauai Branch manager.

“Her husband disappeared a number of years ago without a trace, and left her with keiki to raise by herself,” Perreira said. “She has struggled to find steady employment, financially, and trying to keep her sanity. During the past several years, she has used the services of the Hawaii Foodbank, and has volunteered for us when she was able to.”

The Hawaii Foodbank Kauai Branch launched a new school pantry at Kauai Community College in the Waialeale Project room on the college campus, motivated by Fabiana’s observations on campus.

The school pantry offers students snacks, ready-to-eat meals, and nonperishable foods to take home.

“Jocelyn said that while on campus, she sees many more students attending KCC who are in need,” Perreira said. “She also said that she is attending KCC because of the financial aid being offered by the Waialeale Project, and asked if we could help with providing food for those students on campus like her who need some help with food.”

For the school pantry in the Waialeale Project area, the Hawaii Foodbank Kauai Branch has provided two lockable storage cabinets filled with a variety of food. When space becomes available, the foodbank will also provide a refrigerator.

The KCC food pantry is based on the foodbank’s Food4Keiki Pantry Program that serves as a critical food resource for students, their siblings and their families.

The Food4Keiki School Pantry program is also at five Department of Education schools on Kauai.

“It is well documented that well-nourished, food-secure students have higher rates of cognitive activity, school attendance, and academic achievements,” Perreira said. “We are pleased to be able to help.”

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Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or dfujimoto@thegardenisland.com.

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