Flood damage cripples state's second largest food bank

AINA HAINA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The state's second largest food bank found itself in an unfamiliar position Saturday: The organization responsible for distributing groceries to thousands of east Oahu families each month is now the one in need.

"This is the actual pantry itself that's now covered in mud," said Jewell Tuitele, president of Angel Network Charities. "You'll see mud in all of the refrigerators."

A wall of water more than 2 feet high inundated the charity's warehouse on Friday. A group of volunteers showed up unannounced Sunday morning to help with the clean-up.

"Some people can afford to have a contractor and then a lot of people can't. So we're kind of looking for those folks who might just need some people to show up and do some shoveling." said volunteer Mike McFarlane.

The food pantry is operated by Calvary by the Sea Church. Much of the property was ravaged by the storm. In addition to damage in the pantry, flood waters ripped through an adjoining room causing the floors to buckle. There's evidence the kitchen and the office were also underwater.

"Everything will have to go.There's mud in the drawers," said Tuitele.

Across the lawn parishioners gathered for Sunday service. Today's message: Do not be defined by disaster.

"Our buildings have been beaten. But remember our church is not the building," said Pastor Tim Mason. "If anything it's going to bring us and the neighborhood closer together."

While some church members listened to the sermon others chose to live it.

"Right now we don't have a time line to reopen. It really depends on how much support we get financially and volunteer wise and how much insurance will pay," said Tuitele.

Initial estimates put damage at $100,000.

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