Holidays stress supplies at organizations that feed the hungry

Holidays stress supplies at organizations that feed the hungry

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - When Feeding Hawaii Together doled out food Tuesday morning, the line stretched down the sidewalk. It was busier than ever.

"It looks like it's probably going to go over 400, that would be a record for us," executive director Charlie Lorenz said.

The agency's warehouse in Kakaako is where people with incomes below the poverty line receive free groceries.

"This place is helping a lot of people," client Priscilla Agno said.

She was one of many who pulled a ticket, waited their turn, then shopped in the supermarket style facility. They filled a shopping cart according to household size. Thanksgiving brought out a big crowd.

"Everybody wants to have good meals for Christmas and Thanksgiving. So the demand goes up," Lorenz said.

The empty shelves showed it. It also pointed out a ripple effect. Feeding Hawaii gets much of its food from the Hawaii Foodbank.

"It was a great shock that when we started the season in the beginning of November we were down to an eight-day supply of food. That's dangerously low for us and dangerously low for the people that we serve," Foodbank COO Polly Kauahi said.

Donations have brought it up to a 12-day reserve. But that's still short of the 15 to 20 days the Foodbank wants.

"If things aren't getting donated to them, we're not able to give it away," Lorenz said.

The Foodbank estimates it helps feed 183,000 people a year through agencies and organizations like Feeding Hawaii.

"It's such a Godsend. I'm so grateful for what I have to put on my table," client Annette Jackson said.

Lorenz said the goal is to deliver a balanced meal. But that's a stretch at this time of year.

"We try our best but we just don't have it to give to them," he said.

Feeding Hawaii Together's final count Tuesday was 408 customers served. It would have been higher if the agency was open beyond it's 1:30 p.m. closing time.  There's no end of the line when it comes to hunger.

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