KALAHEO — Kaua‘i is different, said Holy Cross Church Deacon Bambi Emayo, Tuesday during the church’s monthly food distribution in Kalaheo.
“Kaua‘i has a different kind of people,” Emayo said. “We are our brother’s keeper, and this food distribution is a bright light. For the people who are here helping, this is an opportunity to care for someone, too.”
Lines of cars neatly stacked in the church’s parking lot greeted the volunteers emerging from the social hall following a morning’s work packaging food for distribution, someone noting that the first cars were in line from about 3 p.m. for the 5 p.m. start.
“We figured it out,” Emayo said. “A couple of events ago, traffic was backed up to Brydeswood. There was only one line coming through here. The guys figured out how to stack the lines so we don’t need to overflow onto the highway. With this setup, we can go through more than 200 packages in an hour.”
Tuesday’s distribution included a package of pantry goods, including bread, canned goods, saimin, and even rice, said Clarissa Emayo, Deacon Bambi’s wife and who is in charge of the distribution.
“We also have five pounds of chicken, eggs, and milk through the help of the Hawai‘i Foodbank, Kaua‘i Branch,” Clarissa said. “And today’s hot meal is spaghetti with garlic bread prepared by the Cabral family of Unko’s Restaurant in Hanapepe. We don’t usually tell them how much to make, they make what they feel like. Today, there’re about a hundred meals and that will go until it runs out.”
Clarissa said they planned to distribute 260 packages, Tuesday.
“We’ve been doing this distribution since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic (in March),” Clarissa said. “It’s come down to families needing food, now because there’re no jobs, no work. I am so glad we can help them. When we first started, we were primarily feeding the homeless and some needy people. This all changed to where a lot of the people waiting today are families.”
The next Holy Cross Church food distribution takes place on the third Tuesday of the month, Oct. 20, starting at 5 p.m.
“Everyone is welcome,” Clarissa said. “Our volunteers start packing from around 10:30 in the morning, and anyone can come to help, just come down.”