Becky Sakimae of the Koloa Union Church volunteer team said they always come to help at all the food distributions at St. Raphael Church in Koloa.
“We’re not a very big church,” Sakimae said. “We couldn’t do a distribution of this size, so we come to help the St. Raphael Church when they do their monthly food distribution.”
The Koloa Union Church group was among four dozen volunteers helping at the Hawai‘i Foodbank Kaua‘i Branch Kokua No Ka ‘Ohana food distribution Thursday, where 500 food packages were distributed to families at the sold-out event at St. Raphael Church.
“We knew they were going to do this distribution, so we passed on doing our regular distribution,” said Tina Brun, who coordinates the St. Raphael pantry program. “Instead, I took two ladies and we’re cooking food for all of the volunteers today. Because it’s Halloween, we have special energy bars and almond cookies from Father Arlan Intal for every volunteer.”
Cars lined the drive-thru roadway around the St. Raphael sanctuary and picked up food from six serving stations.
“You should see how we took care of the traffic,” said Wes Perreira, the Hawai‘i Foodbank Kaua‘i Branch director. “Remember how it used to be just two cars at a time? We used a traffic pattern designed by Lee Remigio and moved the distribution to where we can handle up to six cars at a time.”
This, along with the appointment system, eliminated the backlog on Hapa Road. The check-in team with Blanca Gil and Pua Kaohelauli‘i also added to the streamlining by reverting to the use of smartphones instead of paper to get the needed survey data from food recipients.
Michelle Panoke, Hawai‘i Foodbank, Kaua‘i Branch office manager, said the Thursday distribution at St. Raphael brings the Kokua No Ka ‘Ohana totals to about 70,000 pounds of food distributed between Kekaha and Kilauea since the program started in late September. Three more distributions are scheduled, with the next one taking place on Thursday, Nov. 5, from 10 a.m. to noon at the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands Anahola mauka clubhouse.
Appointments are requested by visiting the Hawai‘i Foodbank Kaua‘i Branch website, hawaiifoodbankkauai.org.
Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or email@example.com.