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Fueling the need

NAWILIWILI — The long line of people waiting Wednesday at the entrance to the Kaua‘i Independent Food Bank demonstrates the ongoing need for food.

“There is a need,” said KIFB Executive Director Kelvin Moniz. “We service between 40 to 80 individuals a week. Today, there is the Fishes and Loaves distribution by the St. Michael’s pantry at Vidinha Stadium, but there the line is still here.”

Helping fuel the weekly distribution, the KIFB relies on contributions from the community, like the recent food drive conducted by State Farm Insurance Agent Eric Kaneda that collected 825 pounds of food along with a $494 contribution.

“We received more donations than we expected,” said Kaneda, whose original, one-day collection in March was extended to the month’s end because of the response. “The community was very receptive to helping the Kaua‘i Independent Food Bank.”

Moniz said these private contributions help fuel not only the special food distributions, but the ongoing food programs like the Keiki Cafe that is rapidly nearing the end of the school year, the backpack programs that send food home with students to help carry them through the weekend, and the Uluwehi Emergency Food Distributions.

“We are so grateful for friends like Eric Kaneda and others who support our work and are so vital to our community,” Moniz said. “Your thoughtfulness and generosity helps support our vital programs, help keiki and kupuna have access to nutritious foods, and assist families and individuals in food emergencies.”

The KIFB is partnering with the county Agency on Elderly Affairs to get food to homebound kupuna near the end of May, coinciding with the long Memorial Day weekend.

John and Alexandra “Xan” Fischer of Colorado recently sent in a $2,500 contribution following a four-month stay on Kaua‘i.

“The work your organization does on Kaua‘i is truly an inspiring example of aloha in the community,” the Fischers wrote to The Garden Island and Mayor Derek Kawakami.

“We came to Kaua‘i in early November to shelter from the pandemic, and have been inspired by the aloha we have experienced in the Kaua‘i community,” they wrote.

”The people of the island have come together and treated each other with dignity and respect by wearing masks, social distancing and pitching in to volunteer when the need arises. This is how healthy communities overcome obstacles and thrive during difficult times,” the Fischers said.

“The aloha that organizations like the Kaua‘i Independent Food Bank exhibit every day, combined with the thoughtful leadership of Mayor Kawakami and Dr. Janet Berreman, has made us feel safe and welcome on the island during a difficult time,” the couple said. “The appreciation we feel for the people of Kaua‘i is overwhelming.”

“This spring, as vaccinations become more available and the pandemic hopefully begins to fade, we will be returning to the mainland changed citizens,” the Fischers said. “They say ‘aloha brings change,’ so we are going to bring some of the aloha we experienced here on Kaua‘i back to our community in Colorado.”

Moniz said these funds will be used to partner with the Kaua‘i Lifeguard Association in hosting a food-distribution event during the month of May.

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Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or dfujimoto@thegardenisland.com.
Source: The Garden Island

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