PO‘IPU — “When the visitors come back” was the most common answer to questions posed by the Sheraton Kaua‘i Resort furloughed employees, Wednesday during the food distribution that was a partnership between the Sheraton Kaua‘i Resort and the Kaua‘i Independent Food Bank.
“I got to overhear some of the questions being asked by the employees,” said Kelvin Moniz, the KIFB executive director. “Those Sheraton people had some hard questions to answer. Listening to those questions was so touching.”
More than half of the budgeted food packages were gone within the first 30 minutes of the drive-through distribution where the employees were wearing face masks, and did not have to leave their cars to accept the packages that included a variety of canned goods, ground beef, bread, eggs, and a case of saimin.
Volunteers from the Zonta Club of Kaua‘i and the East Kaua‘i Lions Club made short work of packaging and distributing the 100 food packages.
Employees were greeted by volunteers from the Sheraton Kaua‘i Resort and guided through the drive-through with ample time to have their questions answered and greeting their associates, many of whom they haven’t seen in nearly a year since the resort was shut down from the pandemic.
“They really want to come back to work,” Moniz said. “They wonder how come some places are providing work for jobs like cleaning the toilets and they’re still waiting. The Kaua‘i Independent Food Bank took that into consideration when we put together the food package. They’re hurting.”
Sheraton Kaua‘i Resort manager Chip Bahouth added that in addition to needing food, the employees are worried about health insurance since a lot of the hotels are discontinuing coverage, or are on the verge of discontinuing medical coverage.
“I was ready to retire, too,” Bahouth said. “But between my wife and myself, medical coverage would amount to about $3,000 a month. I’m still working. A lot of the employees are in that same boat.”
He said Sheraton Kaua‘i Resort is currently open to only owners of time shares.