NAWILIWILI — In the face of growing demand, the Kaua‘i Independent Food Bank is expanding its emergency food pickup to five days a week.
“People come in surges,” said Kelvin Moniz, the KIFB executive director. “A lot of people come from the ranks of the unemployed after the resorts and other businesses shut down because of the COVID-19.”
According to an Associated Press article appearing on April 2, nearly one-quarter of Hawai‘i’s workers applied for unemployment benefits during March as measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 hit the state’s economy.
The state’s Department of Labor and Industrial Relations claimed 160,929 claims were filed during March, with 10,495 being duplicates. The Department of Labor statistics showed initial unemployment claims for the week ending March 28 totaled 48,861.
According to The Department of Business, Economic Development &Tourism, figures ending April 4 saw Kaua‘i’s unemployment claims total 4,476 compared with 71 for the same period in 2019.
Kaua‘i Independent Food Bank will maintain its emergency food pick up, Mondays through Fridays from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., the new expanded hours adding Wednesdays into the mix.
“I told the crews to enjoy the Wednesdays off when they could,” Moniz said. “When the demand for food increases, that day off will disappear.”
Among the Monday traffic at the KIFB warehouse in Nawiliwili, Peter and Monika Ot of Anahola worked with Kelvin Moniz on a cart of food.
“This is not going out,” Moniz said. “They’re contributing. This is the second time they’ve stopped by with food that helps with the emergency food pickups.”
Peter said they know from experience, the need to food to help people get through crisises like COVID-19.
“We know what people like,” Monika said. “This is something we need to do.”
Moniz said in addition to the individual contributions, the Kaua‘i Independent Food Bank is partnering with Bobby V’s in The Coconut Marketplace for a spaghetti to go fundraiser, April 24 from 4 to 7 p.m. People are encouraged to call in their orders so it’ll be ready for pick up during the drive through.
“People just do what they can,” Moniz said. “Like the Ot’s, they go to Costco and buy for their family needs, first. Then, they put in a little more to help everyone else.”