KAUMAKANI — For less than a stimulus check, the family of Placido and Maria Valenciano took care of nearly 200 families Saturday during a food distribution that got help from the Kaua‘i Independent Food Bank at the parking lot of Aloha Sweet Delights.
“We, as a family, put in $1,000,” said Placido Valenciano. “There were matching grants up to $3,000 to help serve up nearly $7,000 worth of food to help take care of people in the Kaumakani and Pakala areas.”
Cars started lining the parking lot from as early as 7:30 a.m. for the 9 a.m. start of distribution, and walk-ins started appearing nearly as early.
Judge Randal Valenciano said his parents, Placido and Maria, believed that providing food was a priority. His sister, Crystal Rowe, got the nod for coordinating the event that celebrates Father’s Day as well.
“It was just time for us to get off our okole,” Rowe said, pulling together the Valenciano ‘ohana that includes Patricia Pablo, Glenda Miyazaki, Marilyn Billingsley, Placido Jr. and Judge Randal and their families.
Alice Fontanilla was one of the early arrivals, walking from her home in the Kaumakani Camp and chatting with Panny Machado while waiting.
“I walked over because we no mo’ car,” Fontanilla said. “We had a stroke so no can drive. And now, we get dementia, too.”
She was overwhelmed with the amount of food she received, including an assortment of what Placido Jr. described as “dry goods, or canned goods,” fresh produce, hamburger, eggs, milk and a limited supply of Diet Pepsi.
“This is my community,” said Pua Kaohelauli‘i of the state Department of Health, who volunteered her help. “Gotta take care of these people in Kaumakani and Pakala.”
The distribution also got help from Clyde Nada of Thrifty Mart and Gay &Robinson to enable the drive-thru in the parking lot fronting the Aloha Sweet Delights and the Kaumakani post office.
When the dust settled following the distribution, Michelle Valenciano posted 193 households and 684 individuals being served, including 159 driving thru and 34 walk-ins.
The total broke down to 201 kupuna, 60 years and older, being served, 314 adults between 18 and 59 years old, and 169 children 17 years and younger getting served.
“This is a big blessing,” said Jaime Alverado, who picked up his boxes of food.
Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or firstname.lastname@example.org.