Hawaii Foodbank keeps island fed – Thegardenisland.com

PUHI — The last time the Church of the Pacific received an award, they were only distributing about 8,000 pounds of food a year, said John Burkous.

The Church of the Pacific was honored as the Hawaii Foodbank, Kauai Branch, Agency of the Year during Thursday’s Kauai Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours held at the food bank’s Puhi warehouse.

“The last time we got such an honor was way back when we were distributing 8,000 pounds of food,” Burkous said. “To earn this honor, we were credited with distributing 340,260 pounds of food. That is a lot of food, and it does not count the fresh produce and fruit from the church’s gardens.”

On the other side of distribution, Safeway Stores was honored as the Donor of the Year, finishing the year with 221,996 pounds of food in a year being contributed to the Hawaii Foodbank, Kauai Branch.

Gerald Shintaku of the Hawaii Foodbank, Oahu, flew in for the occasion with Beverly Santos, the Hawaii Foodbank’s special events coordinator, to join several hundred people who contributed nonperishable food or monetary contributions as entry to the event.

“Layton Construction said they were not able to stay for the event,” said Beth Tokioka, a Hawaii Foodbank, Kauai Branch, board member. “But they dropped off about 600 pounds of food to help the cause.”

Overall, Hawaii Foodbank added 594 pounds of food and $110 in cash donations to its cache of food.

“Penny (Korte) is one of our drivers,” said Mark Whitson, the St. Catherine food pantry operations manager. “She’s one of the drivers who does the outreach program for people who cannot get to the church on Wednesday afternoons.”

Whitson said the program at St. Catherine has grown — more than 375 people a week were served in the quarter ending in September.

“We’ll be eight years old in February,” Whitson said. “We have grown to where we serviced 4,478 people from July through September, with the average family having 3 1/2 people. In addition to the food, we provide diapers for those with small children, and hygienic supplies for seniors. We do canned tuna for those in the outreach, and plan on providing more than a hundred families a complete turkey dinner for Thanksgiving.”

Shintaku pointed out that is just some of the more than 1 million pounds of food being distributed annually by the Hawaii Foodbank, Kauai Branch.

He earned a round of applause after announcing that, by being a part of the Feed America program, the Hawaii Foodbank, Kauai Branch, earned national recognition for its food safety following an intensive inspection and audit. Michelle Panoke noted the Kauai Branch earned 910 points out of a possible 1,000 for the certification honor.

“Programs are still growing,” Shintaku said. “The Hawaii Foodbank, Kauai Branch, recently started its Senior Box Program, where kupuna are given boxes of food to supplement their Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. They have a wait list of seniors wanting to become a part of this. We now service 224 seniors each month.”

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