LIHU‘E — Many kupuna don’t want to venture outside their home, especially during this pandemic, said Kaua‘i Retired and Senior Volunteer Program participant Wilma Chandler Tuesday during the packing of food packages destined for homebound kupuna.
“I used to deliver to kupuna during the last grant, where produce was delivered to the homebound senior citizens,” Chandler said. “They are all very happy to get their food because they stay at home. During my deliveries, I met a disabled person so incapacitated, I had to help put the food away. There was nothing there except what I brought.”
The county’s Agency on Elderly Affairs, the umbrella of the Kaua‘i RSVP program, partnered with the Kaua‘i Independent Food Bank to deliver 100 packages of food, including soup, assorted canned foods like tuna, Vienna sausages, chicken, portions of rice and fresh hands of bananas.
“I would’ve liked to have eggs, milk and even bread,” said Kelvin Moniz, KIFB executive director. “But the grant doesn’t cover those items. Funding for these delivery to the homebound come from the county’s annual grants in aid program that we refocused because of the pandemic. Traditionally, the GIA funds cover the once-a-month kupuna shopping that was suspended when the pandemic struck. We are using those resources to make it possible for food to be distributed to the kupuna.”
Chandler was among “the morning shift” of volunteers who sorted and packed food into reusable shopping bags provided by KIFB. Deliveries to homes, enhanced Tuesday with the addition of hand-written and hand-drawn notes and cards from the Elsie Wilcox Elementary School kindergarten class led by instructor Chrissy Nii, were handled by what Kaua‘i RSVP director Donna Lynn Loo described as “the afternoon shift.”
Loo said by juggling between the different available programs, the AEA is able to ensure that the kupuna, especially those who are homebound, are cared for.
The Kaua‘i RSVP volunteers are gearing up for the next food distribution that takes place when the Lili‘uokalani Trust coordinates the delivery of 400 U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm to Families food parcels to different agencies, including the AEA, Boys &Girls Club sites in West Kaua‘i, Lihu‘e and Kapa‘a, and the Kaua‘i Pop Warner Football League.
Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or firstname.lastname@example.org.