Beverly Kaneakua and her husband James have been volunteering at the Kauai Independent Food Bank in Nawiliwili “from way, way back when,” delivering and picking up food twice a week.
During their tenure, they said they were amazed at how many poor people there are on Kauai.
“People need people,” James said. “And some need food as well. There are so many who need food.”
Thanks to a pair of food drives, many of them had something to eat this holiday season.
The Hawaii Foodbank, Kauai Branch, and the KIFB, both hosted food drives which ended Dec. 31.
Kelvin Moniz, KIFB interim director, said they received 61,489 pounds of food from August through Friday, exceeding the Holiday Food and Fund Drive goal of 40,000 pounds.
Beverly said each item is accompanied by the donor’s love and aloha.
“If it weren’t for the poor people, we wouldn’t be here,” said James. “The food banks have a lot to share. Everything that goes out has a lot more to it than just food.”
Moniz said there were other programs working during the same time, including the 2-for-1 program where an anonymous donor pledged to match cash contributions.
“Under the 2-for-1 program, KIFB received about $35,000,” Moniz said. “Once the program ended, KIFB finished by raising an additional $12,000.”
The financial goal for the KIFB holiday drive was $40,000.
“We’re still taking in food and money,” Moniz said.
Wes Perreira, Hawaii Foodbank, Kauai Branch warehouse supervisor, said its Community Food Drive netted 3,763 pounds of food in December.
“We sincerely appreciate the Kauai Island Utility Cooperative, Safeway, Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. and the County of Kauai for their continued support and commitment to combat hunger on Kauai,” Perreira said.
Brian Curll of the Hui O Mana Ka Puuwai was an agency shopper Monday at the KIFB.
He said Hui O Mana Ka Puuwai is the sponsor of several community programs, including the Boys & Girls Club, the Kapaa High School and Kawaikini junior varsity and varsity outrigger canoe paddling teams.
He said during the 15-year span of the project, they have gone through 175,000 pounds of food and have taken efforts to make sure food is not wasted.
“Once a month, we cook and host a party for the Lihue seniors where we cook the food and host the kupuna for food and fellowship,” Curll said. “We also take care of the homeless from wherever we can find them, primarily Anahola, Kapaa, Hanamaulu.”
The KIFB also received the Better Business Bureau’s seal of approval as an accredited charity, effective Sept. 30.
“This is an important achievement for KIFB as it provides reassurance to our many donors of KIFB’s ethical and efficient stewardship,” said Rowena Cobb, KIFB board president.
• Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or dfujimoto@ thegardenisland.com.