LIHU‘E — Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School student Jaevyn Navarro capitalized on his non-in-person instruction day Thursday to help at the Hawai‘i Foodbank Kaua‘i Branch Na Ho‘omaka Hou drive-thru food distribution at Vidinha Stadium.
“He’s only in the eighth grade,” said Wes Perreira, the Hawai‘i Foodbank Kaua‘i Branch manager. “He’s been coming to help at all the food distributions ever since he showed up with his mother at one of the events. He even comes to the warehouse to volunteer.”
Perreira said the volunteers are key to the success of a food distribution, getting help from newcomer groups Hawaiian Air and the County of Kaua‘i Department of Parks and Recreation.
Tina Brun, working with the St. Raphael Church volunteer group, said she was worried about getting out early because the church was hosting its monthly giveaway in the afternoon.
Cars overflowed from one side of the parking lot before the start of the distribution, themed Na Ho‘omaka Hou, or a new beginning, through the central drive-thru featuring six distribution points manned by the volunteer crews.
“This is the first distribution for Hawai‘i Foodbank Kaua‘i Branch in this new year,” Perreira said. “It should give us an idea of the need that is out there. We’ve budgeted for 450 families today.”
Motorists observing the COVID-19 health and safety guidelines and rules snaked through the distribution points where more than 22,200 pounds of food were passed out in no-contact fashion. The food included chicken thighs, pasta, eggs, coffee, bottled water and more.
“It just feels good to give back, especially to those in need,” Navarro said. “This is what drives me, and I just volunteer whenever I can.”
Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or email@example.com.