HANALEI — Hanalei School has noodles and packaged lunches, canned goods and cereal, oatmeal and other nonperishable items on campus, awaiting Kauai Independent Food Bank.
In total, that stockpile numbers 903 items which students stacked on a table Monday for transfer to bolster the food bank’s supplies right before the holidays.
“There’s a lot of Vienna Sausages,” said sixth-grader Ikaika Alapai, who was unloading food with classmates Lauhala Mahuiki and Rumi Way.
Classes competed in gathering donations, with a pizza party prize up for grabs. Mahuiki, Way and Alapai were part of the winning class, led by teacher Katie Belville.
The food drive started Nov. 1 and ran through Monday. Belville’s class gathered 278 items. Patricia Gallagher’s class came in second with 238 items gathered and Sara Deblin’s class came in third place with 83 items.
Mahuiki, Way and Alapai were also part of the group that made the rounds every morning, collecting cans and bags, packages and boxes for the food drive.
“It went really well,” Mahuiki said. “We had a wagon and sometimes it got heavy when we were trying to carry it up the stairs, though.”
Rumi pointed out that their class made big strides to get to first place in the competition, especially since they started the competition at the back of the pack.
“We were in last place and we got to first place. One person brought in 81 cans at one time,” Rumi said.
Belville said she also put a daily reminder on the students’ schedules and that made a real difference in the race for first place.
Being able to collect and donate food was a chance for thanksgiving for students at Hanalei. Many were affected by the April 2018 floods and some were sustained through organizations like the Kauai Independent Food Bank.
When they started the drive, principal Tony Sines set a goal of 500 nonperishable food items.
They blew that goal out of the water.
“That was about two food items per student,” Sines said.
Belville said this is the first time in several years the school has pulled together for a food drive. It all started when a food bank flier landed in the front office.
The holidays are food drive season in schools all over the island and both staff and students at Hanalei School said they’re glad to be part the effort.
“Feels good to give back,” Alapai said.