NAWILIWILI — Phil and Marilyn Spittler of Colorado were happy on Wednesday at the Kaua‘i Independent Foodbank warehouse.
“We do this back in Colorado,” said Marilyn while getting their COVID-19 paperwork cleared. “We’re both vaccinated, and we love doing this. This is the first time we’re doing it, here.”
“And, it’s walking distance to where we’re staying,” Phil added. “We can’t get a rental car, so I’m glad we could walk here.”
KIFB Executive Director Kelvin Moniz thanked the couple for their efforts in assisting the foodbank get food to its clients who milled about the front door waiting for the signal to pick up food on the first day of the foodbank’s new adjusted schedule for food distribution.
According to the state’s Board of Economic Development, there was an average of 1,400 domestic passengers arriving on Kaua‘i for the week ending Sept. 9. This was a decrease from the previous week where the state recorded approximately 1,700 arriving passengers.
During the same period in 2020, there were approximately 200 to 300 passengers arriving on island. Before the COVID-19 shutdown, the arriving number of domestic passengers closely followed the current figures.
The impact of these fluctuating arrivals on the local economy trickles down to the need for food, Moniz said.
“During this time of uncertain times, KIFB has to adjust,” Moniz said. “We’re moving from an as-needed emergency food assistance to a single day where we distribute food to anyone who needs. We’ll be doing the distribution on Wednesdays, starting at 10 a.m. and being available until around 1 p.m.”
Ammon Kakazu of the KIFB said they’re starting the new distribution day with about 20 food packages, a decrease from the normal 35-plus packages during the emergency food distributions.
“Earlier, we had a realtor stopping by to drop off food,” Moniz said. “This is really important because we are relying on donations, and the volunteering like the Spittlers to get through this time. We need to make sure we don’t have people going hungry.”
For people needing emergency food beyond the distribution day, call the food bank at 808-246-3809.