WAHIAWA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Every month, the Hawaii Foodbank helps thousands of people in the islands, distributing food to churches, nonprofits, and other community organizations.
One of the groups that depends on the food bank: The Wahiawa First Assembly of God church, which hosts a popular after-school care program on Wednesdays. Students from elementary to high school are bused to the church, and feast on sandwiches and snacks before church leaders do homework with them.
Pastor Scott Sonoda says for many of these kids, this is the last meal they'll get for the night.
"Open up their refrigerator, you would basically see nothing, you would see an empty gallon container of milk filled with water or Kool Aid," he said.
The church gets a lot of the food it serves from the Hawaii Foodbank. Sonoda and other church leaders make pickups at least once a week. They take carts full of eggs, bread, and canned goods that will help feed not only the after-school care kids, but church members who eat after Sunday services.
They also grab toilet paper and other dry goods that families are always looking for.
Getting food from the Food Bank allows the church to use monetary donations for other things, like a learning center where kids can use computers and do school work, and a youth lounge next to the sanctuary. The lounge has couches, a 70-inch flat screen television and games, giving the teens a safe, fun place to hang out in off the streets.
"For these kids, with the help of the food bank, we're able to bless them," Sonoda said.
Hawaii News Now is a proud sponsor of the the Hawaii Food Bank. The Hawaii Foodbank's annual food drive is Saturday at Restaurant Row. Hawaii News Now employees will be there to help collect canned goods and non-perishable items (including rice and cereal) or cash donations, which are the biggest help for the agency. Cash allows the food bank to buy items they don't have enough of or items that spoil, like eggs, bread and milk.