NAWILIWILI — Dick Olsen, Assistant District Governor for the Rotary Clubs of Hawai‘i, was totally pleased with the outpouring of rice Saturday during the Rotary Rice Rally.
“People contributed close to two tons of rice,” Olsen said. “This was beyond what we expected, and we’re pleased with the response.”
Olsen said three Rotary Clubs on Kaua‘i participated in Saturday’s statewide initiative to raise bags of rice for distribution to food banks and food distribution outlets for the needy.
The Rotary Club of Kaua‘i established its collection site at the Times Supermarket at the Kukui Grove Center where Olsen said its president, Ron Morin, got the ball rolling by purchasing two bags of rice.
The Rotary Club of West Kaua‘i set up its collection site fronting Ishihara Market and its collection of 50 bags of rice was turned over to The Salvation Army, Hanapepe Corps’ food pantry program, Olsen said.
Ron Margolis, president-elect for the Rotary Club of Kapa‘a, said the club got the help from Kapa‘a High School Interact Club students while maintaining its collection site outside the Foodland Waipouli store.
“The students took care of one entrance and the Rotary Club of Kapa‘a members manned the other store entrance,” Margolis said. “This was so exciting, we’re hosting another drive on Feb. 9.”
The Kapa‘a Rotary (who will be returning to Foodland Waipouli with its Interact Club helpers) will be joined by the Rotary Club of Kalepa Sunrise, who will be manning a collection site at the Times Supermarket at Kukui Grove.
“There was one lady who insisted we provide brown rice because it is healthier,” Margolis said. “We’re supposed to collect 20-pound bags, but she insisted we take her 10-pound brown rice.”
Overall among the collection, though, there were a few bags of brown rice.
Kelvin Moniz, the food resources director for the Kaua‘i Independent Food Bank, said the brown rice is used to mix with the white rice to create “hapa rice” which is distributed to its participating agencies.
In addition to bags of rice, Rotarians also accepted monetary contributions, which also go towards buying rice, Olsen said.
Overall, the Rotary Club of Kaua‘i collected 25 bags of rice and $550 in monetary contributions, equating to 80 bags of rice collected during the Saturday Rotary Rice Rally, Olsen said.
The Rotary Club of Kapa‘a collected 15 bags of rice, money equating to 60 bags of rice, and several bags of miscellaneous grocery contributions, including toilet paper.
The Rotary Club of West Kaua‘i collected the equivalent of 50 bags of rice which was turned over to the Salvation Army, Hanapepe Corps., Olsen said.
The contributions from the Rotary Club of Kaua‘i and the Rotary Club of Kapa‘a were both turned over to the KIFB facility Monday morning.
Olsen said he had not received a count on how the statewide effort performed.
“We know there are about 1,700 Rotarians in the state and during the Rotary Rice Rally, the goal was to collect 400,000 pounds of rice,” Olsen said. “Kaua‘i’s collection from the three participating clubs amounted to 3,800 pounds of rice.”
Moniz also accepted a contribution Saturday from the Lawai Beach Resort.
“This is really a nice way to start the New Year,” Moniz said. “Rice is one of the hard items to get right now, so all of the contributions make a big difference to helping to feed people who are hungry.”