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Food at King Kaumuali‘i goes farther than food pantry

HANAMAULU — When the Hawai‘i Foodbank Kaua‘i truck driven by John Montemayor rolled into the delivery entrance on Wednesday, the truck contained not only 1,800 pounds of food but also the refrigerator and cabinets for the start up of the King Kaumuali‘i Elementary School food pantry.

Wednesday coincided with the school’s annual English Language Learner Family Night, and part of the 1,800-pound load was shared with that annual event.

“A special treat of pumpkins was included in the delivery,” said Raina Santos, the Hawai‘i Foodbank Kaua‘i community development specialist. “And oh my gourd, did the keiki love it. I absolutely love how all the keiki worked together as a team to help put away the food items in the school’s pantry — just one big ‘ohana!”

Santos worked with King Kaumuali‘i School principal Jason Yoshida to initiate the Food4Keiki School Pantry that would be serving 5-pound food bags and snacks to keiki throughout the year, improving access to low-cost or free meals to children who depend on the National School Lunch program for meals. The King Kaumuali‘i School coordinators will be Pamela Dureg, the School Food Services Manager, and Cathy Haraguchi, the School Administrative Services Assistant.

“The Hawai‘i Foodbank Kaua‘i is very excited and fortunate to be serving the keiki and their families, ensuring their tummies are filled so they are able to focus with their studies,” a spokesperson for the Hawai‘i Foodbank Kaua‘i said. “We are excited to be working with the 11 schools we have established pantries with. Our goal is to establish one more Food4Keiki School Pantry program this school year.”

The food delivery included milk, eggs, apples, bananas, yogurt, canned foods, and the special pumpkins that were shared with the ELL Family Night.

“This year, we are very grateful to Hawai‘i Foodbank Kaua‘i for their generous donations that were distributed at our ELL Family Night,” Haraguchi said. “Thank you to our ELL teachers, Ms. Aileen Matsunaga and Mr. Alex Cezar and their students for the beautiful ‘Mahalo’ banner.”

The ELL program helps students whose first language is not English.

“Every year, King Kaumuali‘i Elementary hosts an informational meeting to help the school staff better familiarize themselves with the ELL families and to provide information about our ELL Program,” Haraguchi said.

“This gives everyone an opportunity to ask the school any questions they may have as we welcome their thoughts or concerns as we help the students have a successful year. The children also perform at the ELL Family Night for everyone’s enjoyment and pleasure.”

For more information on the Food4Keiki School Pantry program, visit hawaiifoodbank.org/keiki/.
Source: The Garden Island

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