LIHU‘E — The Kaua‘i Independent Food Bank launched its 2013 Healthy Food and Fund Drive, which will run through April 30 with a goal of raising 40,000 pounds of food and $40,000 in monetary contributions.
Kelvin Moniz, the KIFB Food Resources director, said the purpose of the food drive is to raise awareness about hunger on Kaua‘i while supporting the KIFB keiki programs, including the Keiki Cafe, plus Back Pack East and West programs. Additionally, food drives collect much-needed nutritious food and helps raise money to help feed the hungry through its emergency food request programs.
According to a certificate acknowledging the spring food drive presented by the Kaua‘i County Council, KIF distributed in the excess of 240,000 pounds of food to 50 nonprofit agencies in 2012.
The Keiki Cafe program is administered through a partnership with the Boys & Girls Club of Waimea and Lihu‘e and the YWCA for children who participate in their after-school program. The Children’s Back Pack Program is available through the Boys & Girls Club on the Eastside as well as through two Ni‘ihau charter schools in Kekaha. In 2012, the sixth year of its operation, the program provided nearly 5,000 backpacks of food.
During 2012, eight years since the first Kids Cafe opened in partnership with community resources, KIFB provided a Super Snack for more than 3,500 children each month at high schools, elementary schools and neighborhood centers in collaboration with the Boys & Girls Club, schools and with the YWCA.
KIFB currently responds to nearly 12,000 emergency food requests in a typical month and feeds about 20 percent of Kaua‘i’s population. Of those, almost 20 percent are children and nearly 16 percent are Kaua‘i’s elderly.
Moniz said KIFB is preparing to launch a program, E Ku‘ No‘ a Kokua Kupuna, which means “Stand for and help kupuna.” Under the Kokua Kupuna program, seniors 60 years and older have the opportunity to “shop” for nutritious foods, dairy products, fresh fruits and vegetables and bakery items to supplement their dietary needs. Shopping takes place three days a week for three hours and is free to seniors participating in various senior programs, such as Alu Like and the county programs.
The KIFB is the smallest food bank in the state of Hawai‘i, yet feeds the largest percentage of the total population in any county, states a mayoral proclamation announcing the drive.
In addition to helping feed the hungry through its keiki and kupuna programs and the emergency food requests, the KIFB food distribution network has expanded its services through the Electronics Benefits Transfer Program, formerly known as food stamps. The EBT Program allows shoppers with EBT tokens to receive two-for-one to enjoy local products at selected farmers markets around the island through the sponsorship of the County of Kaua‘i and the Kaua‘i County Farm Bureau.
People are able to respond to the 2013 Spring Healthy Food and Fund drive by dropping off non-perishable food items at any of the county’s fire stations from Hanalei through Waimea as well as at the KIFB facility located at 3285 Wa‘apa Road in Nawiliwili.
Moniz said the eight most requested items include rice, canned fruits, pasta, soups, tuna, peanut butter, canned meats and canned vegetables.
Visit www.kauaifoodbank.org or call 246-3809 for more information.
• Dennis Fujimoto, photographer and staff writer, can be reached at 245-0453 or dfujimoto@ thegardenisland.com.