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Kaua‘i Independent Food Bank cranks out assistance

LIHU‘E — Flora Visitacion smiled with her food package, Wednesday after waiting in the line of people waiting for the doors to open at the Kaua‘i Independent Food Bank.

“She’s here all the time,” said KIFB executive director Kelvin Moniz. “Now that she’s gotten her food, she’s going to The Salvation Army.”

The demand for food hasn’t eased since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic a year ago as demonstrated by the line of people waiting for their emergency food packages.

“If anything, it’s gotten longer,” Moniz said. “We don’t have enough places in Lihu‘e where people can get food. I was thinking about shutting this down because it takes a lot of work, but the board wants to keep it going.”

Balancing between funding from the initial round of CARES Act relief and the continuing unemployment puts a demand for food going out.

According to a study done by the state’s Department of Business, Economic Development &Tourism in the fourth quarter of 2020, Kaua‘i’s unemployment rate increased 12.6 percent from 2.6 percent to 15.2 percent. Overall, the island lost 7,500 jobs or a 22.5 percent decrease over the same quarter of 2019 with the highest loss of jobs being in Accommodations that lost 3,500 jobs or 72.9 percent.

KIFB will partner with Gather Federal Credit Union, the Lions Club, and the Zonta Club of Kaua‘i to host a drive-through no-contact food distribution for employees of the Kaua‘i Marriott Resort and Beach Club, Thursday.

On Saturday, KIFB will partner with the Kaua‘i Lifeguard Association, and the Kekaha Agriculture Association to host a community drive-through no-contact food distribution in the parking area at the Waimea Canyon Middle School starting at 10 a.m.

“We wanted to do something for the school families in the area similar to the food distribution we did at the King Kaumuali‘i Elementary School,” Moniz said. “But this distribution is for the community — communities from ‘Ele‘ele, Hanapepe, Kaumakani, and the Westside through Kekaha. We’re not taking appointments, people who need can just come as long as we have supplies.”

The Hawai‘i Foodbank, Kaua‘i Branch will host a community food distribution on March 18 at the Bryan J. Baptiste Memorial Sports Complex. Appointments are being accepted at hawaiifoodbank.org/kauai-pop-up/

Families receiving food packages are reminded that face masks need to be worn, and social distancing will be observed.

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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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