LIHU‘E — A “glitch” came out in favor of food recipients Thursday during the Hawai‘i Foodbank Kaua‘i Branch food distribution at Vidinha Stadium.
“We budgeted for 300 packages for the drive-thru distribution,” said Wes Perreira, the Hawai‘i Foodbank, Kaua‘i Branch manager. “All of a sudden, there were more than 500 appointments. Rather than (turning away) all those people who were over, we thought we would gather as much food as we could to make it happen.”
Perreira said thanks to Esaki Produce and Kaua‘i Shrimp, the packages could be put together without sacrificing any of the quantity of the individual food packages that included eggs, bread, an assortment of canned goods, protein, a case of water and juice.
“People are going to have a Las Vegas-style package,” Perreira said. “They’re going to get either kalua pork, lau lau, or some fresh Kaua‘i Shrimp for protein. It just depends on the luck of the draw. We got the apple juice from Flying Foods because the planes aren’t flying (to Kaua‘i) right now.”
In addition to the extended amount totaling 550 food packages made up of more than 20,000 pounds of food, the distribution faced a shortage of manpower.
“You notice Tina Brun is not here,” said Sybil Blackstad, a volunteer from St. Raphael Church. “She’s got her own distribution today at the church.”
Jaevyn Navarro, an eighth-grade student from Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School, took the shortage of volunteers in stride as he set up his tent for the first of the cars picking up food in the drive-thru, no contact and face-masked line.
Cars containing people who had no appointments for food pickup, many of them being members of the houseless community, were directed to an empty section of the parking lot to get access to any food packages left over following the crowd of people who had appointments.
“Look at him,” Perreira said, joining the effort put forward by the young volunteer and Benymar Tapucol who came over from the St. Raphael Church volunteer group. “He’s his own tent — doing everything from putting the packages together, getting the food into the cars and going back for more.”
Dr. Addison Bulosan, who coordinated the business rally for more than 200 people Tuesday at the stadium, joined the ranks of volunteers in loading up cars that moved smoothly through six distribution points.
“I’m back again,” Bulosan said. “That’s two days in a row. Yesterday we were here listening to people who are struggling to stay in business. Today we’re feeding the unemployed.”
Morgan Lopez of Hawai‘iUSA Federal Credit Union took time off from work to help volunteer.
“I like volunteering at this distribution,” said Lopez, who formerly represented the Hawai‘i Lodging &Tourism Association Kaua‘i Chapter. “At least they have music!”
Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or email@example.com.