‘Can’ Do Attitude

The term “unprecedented times” has become somewhat of a buzzword since last spring — but not without good reason. In this era of uncertainty, one thing remains true: Hawai‘i Foodbank is there for those who need it.

But in order for the nonprofit to be a stable resource in the local community, it has to rely on donations, which is why it’s calling upon residents to show up and support its flagship fundraising event, Food Drive Day, this Saturday, Aug. 14, at various locations across O‘ahu.

“The pandemic has demonstrated how fragile food security can be, but it has also shown us just how resilient the people of Hawai‘i are,” states president and CEO Amy Marvin. “As families continue to get back on their feet in the wake of COVID-19, Hawai‘i Foodbank will be there to make sure they have meals on the table, and we ask the community for their kōkua to ensure that no one goes hungry.”

From Wai‘anae to Hawai‘i Kai and around the bend to Kāne‘ohe, staffers and volunteers will be on hand at various shopping centers, churches and other locales (see page 7 for more information) between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. to accept nonperishable food items. As a safety precaution, organizers request that drivers leave their donations in the trunk to keep contact to a minimum.

Canned items that are most in need are proteins (like tuna and chicken), meals (stew, spaghetti and chili), fruits and veggies, and 2to 5-pound bags of rice.

“After a year like no other, hunger in our communities is at its highest level in almost a century,” says Beverly Santos, director of food drive and events. “Because Hawai‘i’s unemployment rate remains the highest in the country, close to a quarter of a million residents continue to struggle with hunger, and that includes a growing number of kūpuna and, now, nearly 1 of every 3 keiki.

“Everyone’s facing food insecurity all over, so not only do we want to make sure we’re offering different locations where people can support, we also want to be visible all over the island so everyone knows we’re there to help,” she adds.

As the islands continue to recover from the last year — and cope with current conditions — Santos says that it’s more critical than ever to help out in any way possible.

“Since the start of the pandemic, Hawai‘i Foodbank has spent over $13 million in purchasing food. (In a normal year), our annual budget is about $400,000. While we were able to purchase that amount due to donations and CARES Act funds, it’s not sustainable for us. Before the pandemic, we relied the majority on donations, so we’re trying to work back to being able to distribute food based on the donations that we receive.”

Those who can’t make it to a site on Saturday needn’t fret. There are plenty of other ways to get involved, including virtually (visit hawaiifoodbank.org/virtual-food-drive), financially (hawaiifoodbank.org/donate), or simply by advocating for the cause on social media (make sure to tag @hawaiifoodbank and use the hashtag #GiveByExample).

For more information, visit hawaiifoodbank.org/food-drive-day.

Find Pop-ups From West To Windward O‘ahu

Hawai‘i Foodbank’s upcoming Food Drive Day helps the nonprofit raise awareness, rally support, and keep its shelves stocked and ready for whatever may come. Staffers and volunteers will be at the following locations from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. to collect nonperishable food items:

• Kapolei Commons

• Koko Marina Center

• Mililani City Mill

• Pearl City Shopping Center

• Wai‘anae Mall Shopping Center

• Waiokeola Congregational Church – Kāhala

• Waterfront Plaza

• Windward City Shopping Center

Meanwhile, Hawai‘i Foodbank representatives will also set up shop at farmers’ markets across O‘ahu, during which people can stop by to make a monetary donation, talk story and learn more about its services or purchase a limited-edition T-shirt, designed by Danny Schlag, who is the nonprofit’s director of marketing and communications.

• Kaka‘ako Farmers Market (8 a.m.-noon)

• Kapi‘olani Community College Farmers Market (7:30-11 a.m.)

• Mākeke Wai‘anae Farmers and Green Market (8 a.m.-noon)

• McCully Shopping Center Open Market (7:30-10:30 a.m.)

• Pearlridge Farmers Market (8 a.m.-noon)