LIHU‘E — Novelyn Hinazumi, Child &Family Service Kaua‘i director, was busy stuffing backpacks with digital thermometers Saturday as cars started flowing through the CFS Festival of Hope for Families distribution in the Vidinha Stadium parking lot.
“We have been getting a lot of requests for thermometers from parents,” Hinazumi said. “Today, we got thermometers. Gotta keep those children healthy.”
The distribution is the second hosted by CFS following a successful, sold-out event in Kekaha two weekends ago.
“It’s a good thing we could get the stadium parking lot,” said Lehua Cristobal of CFS, whose job was to check in guests and distribute gift cards from a local restaurant. “The county didn’t want any of the traffic on Ho‘olako, so we were able to wind the traffic around the parking stalls to keep everyone inside the parking-lot area.”
The Festival of Hope for Families is a one-day, drive-thru event offering more than 300 individuals and families support resources, services and chef-prepared meals as well as food from the Hawai‘i Foodbank Kaua‘i Branch as part of a series of drive-thru giveaways throughout the state during the COVID-19 pandemic supported in part by a grant from the Hawai‘i Resilience Fund of the Hawai‘i Community Foundation. The event that required pre-registration was sold out.
Wes Perreira, the Hawai‘i Foodbank Kaua‘i Branch manager, and Leroy Remigio, the foodbank’s operations manager, were fully involved in packing a late contribution of more than 240 pounds of tomatoes from the Jackson ‘ohana.
“Today is the Hawai‘i Foodbank Virtual Food Drive Day,” Perreira said. “We’re not collecting food, we’re giving it out. These tomatoes were coordinated by Laurie Yoshida.”
Remigio said that, with the late contribution, the Hawai‘i Foodbank Kaua‘i Branch contributed more than 10,000 pounds of food to the CFS distribution.
“This is more than the 8,000 pounds we provided in Kekaha,” Remigio said. “This gives us a nice variety of food, from snacks to milk, eggs and healthy food.”
Perreira, in talking about the Virtual Food Drive Day, said the Hawai‘i Foodbank has already purchased more than $4.75 million worth of emergency food, compared to its typical annual budget of $400,000.
Hinazumi said that, in addition to food, the Festival of Hope for Families offered a talk-story tent where people could just talk before embarking on the drive-thru, where cars received Lokahi Kits that included items purchased and donated by local businesses, including card games, board games, family resources, school supplies, stresss-relief ideas and hotline information.
Cars moved through the food line that included the chef-prepared meal to go, the Hawai‘i Foodbank Kaua‘i Branch packages, and then turned off to additional resource stations that included information on the Head Start preschool programs and more.
“These community events are really making a difference for local residents, and we are so pleased that we developed this model of care that works during this time,” said Karen Tan, CFS president and CEO. “We hope this Festival of Hope for Families event in Lihu‘e will reach people who need assistance and provide resources that will help this community.”
One of those resources was the ability to meet — even if briefly and from a distance — government leaders like state Rep. Nadine Nakamura, Kaua‘i County Councilmember Mason Chock and Kaua‘i County Council Chair Arryl Kaneshiro, who were able to get a taste of what is happening with people and their battle to get through the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I love helping in the community,” Hinazumi said. “This is our second event on Kaua‘i, and we are excited to reach the central and Eastside communities. Our goal is to reach as many families as possible and provide them with the resources and services they need to get through this tough time. We are so grateful for this generous community. Our partners really stepped up to help us make this event a success.”
In addition to the support from the Hawai‘i Resilience Fund of Hawai‘i of the Hawai‘i Community Foundation, the Festival of Hope for Families was supported by the Hawai‘i Foodbank Kaua‘i Branch, Grove Farm, YWCA of Kaua‘i, state Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Aquatic Resources, Malama Pono Health Services, DD Council Hawai‘i, county Agency on Elderly Affairs, Chef Hui, Konohiki Seafoods, Nourish Kaua‘i, Lili‘uokalani Trust, state Department of Health and Under My Umbrella.
Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or email@example.com.