Every little bit helps with relief

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Kelvin Moniz of the Kaua‘i Independent Food Bank, second from left, shows off a blue marlin filet that was part of the 430-pound donation by Tropical Fish, represented by Mark Joto, left, Julia Camara and Keona Renaud Thursday morning at the KIFB warehouse in Nawiliwili.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Farmer Lilibeth Fostanes and Kelvin Moniz of the Kaua‘i Independent Food Bank look over the more than 500 pounds of banana delivered under the recent Kaua‘i County Farm Bureau award Thursday at the KIFB warehouse in Nawiliwili.

NAWILIWILI — A flood of relief flowed through the yard Wednesday morning ahead of the opening of emergency food pickup at the Kaua‘i Independent Food Bank warehouses.

“They didn’t want pictures,” said Jennifer Ihara-Takase of Deja Vu Surf Hawai‘i. “They know you so they came early. This is just what we could collect.”

The collection of coins that threatened to rip through its plastic bag and a few bagfuls of groceries made up the collection results from the stores that had their food drive interrupted when the stay-at-home mandates generated by COVID-19 forced the stores’ closure.

“The food drive, originally scheduled to launch the Kaua‘i Independent Food Bank’s Spring Healthy Food and Fund Drive, we don’t worry about at this time,” said Kelvin Moniz, KIFB executive director. “The important thing is to get food out to people to help them survive during this time of high unemployment and confusion caused by the pandemic.”

Hot on the heels of the Deja Vu team, Lilibeth Fostanes waited to unload her van containing more than 500 pounds of bananas, including varieties like the Williams, ice cream and apple.

“My father planted these trees,” said Fostanes, a vendor at local farmers’ markets. “We got ice cream banana. The tourists like these. And we have Williams, and the best one, apple bananas.”

The batch was acquired through the recently-announced award by the Kaua‘i County Farm Bureau, where the food bank orders locally-grown fruits and vegetables from farmers to a ceiling of $5,000.

That transaction barely completed, a Tropical Fish van rolled into the parking area.

When the doors opened, Moniz was greeted by four big cartons containing 430 pounds of frozen, cut blue marlin that was donated to the food bank’s relief efforts.

“This is really good, having it cut into blocks,” Moniz said. “Blue marlin is easy to prepare and cook. Having it cut can fit into any agency preparing hot meals to use this.”

Between the contributions added to the food relief, Moniz pointed out a folding roller conveyor that was provided for the food bank’s use by the closure of Pier 1.

“This definitely helps us when we need to move all those boxes of food like the ones for the county’s food distribution that will take place Saturday in Kapa‘a,” Moniz said. “Before we got this, everything was moved by hand. This makes it a lot easier, with less strain on the body.”

More contributions are scheduled for the week, when Kaua‘i’s credit unions will deliver the results of its annual food drive. There is also a food-drive collection delivery hosted by Kaua‘i Transportation Security Administration workers scheduled for later in the week.

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

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