Safeway foundation gives $25K to Hawai‘i Foodbank Kaua‘i Branch

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Lesah Merritt of the Safeway Foundation, center, presents a $25,000 award to the Hawai‘i Foodbank Kaua‘i Branch Community Development Specialist Chyenne Beach as, from left, Wes Perreira and Les Quisano of the foodbank, and Lucienne Muse of Safeway, right, keep socially distanced.

“We just bought rice from Safeway,” said Wes Perreira, manager of the Hawai‘i Foodbank Kaua‘i Branch Friday.

“We can never get enough rice.”

Perreira was talking with Lesah Merritt, Les Quisano and Lucienne Muse, representing Safeway Foundation, who visited the Hawai‘i Foodbank Kaua‘i Branch in Puhi with an award of $25,000 to help the food bank with its mission of getting food out to people, especially now during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’re pretty much using this to buy more food,” said Chyenne Beach, the Hawai‘i Foodbank Kaua‘i Branch community development specialist.

Demand for food has increased significantly since the pandemic started in March due to the high numbers of unemployed and the continuing visitor quarantines that keep businesses shuttered.

The Hawai‘i Foodbank Kaua‘i Branch is answering that call, including a food distribution hosted by the United Public Workers that took place Saturday at the UPW building on Rice Street.

“It’ll run until they run out,” Perreira said. “Last week, we planned for 250 packages, and we ran out. We are planning for more this week, but will probably run out again. It’s really hard because there is not really a good location for distributing food in the Lihu‘e area.”

Perreira said the Hawai‘i Foodbank Kaua‘i Branch is working in collaboration with the Kaua‘i Independent Food Bank and County of Kaua‘i to provide food for the furloughed and unemployed people through select neighborhood centers later this month.

“We’ll be handling three neighborhood centers on the Eastside,” Perreira said. “The Kaua‘i Independent Food Bank will handle three centers on the Westside.”

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

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