Lava evacuees flood Hawaii Island food pantries, desperate for necessities

HILO, HAWAII (HawaiiNewsNow) - Over the past four weeks, the Food Basket – Hawaii Island's food bank – has distributed nearly 100,000 pounds of food to residents in need.

That's four times the average amount they distribute in a typical month.

"Things are crazy. We've worked every day since May 3," when eruptions on the Big Island started, said Executive Director Kristin Frost Albrecht.

In order to keep up with demand, Albrecht says, they still need a lot more donations.

"Biggest need? All types of food, quite honestly," she said. "We've also had a lot of requests for fresh food. Protein is always at the top of the list, just because it's expensive and that's what's hard for people to afford when they have no resources."

The Food Basket is also getting plenty of requests for kid-friendly foods, but evacuees aren't just looking for things to eat. Albrecht says many are asking for clothes, toiletries and tents.

"We're getting requests in particular for large tents," said Albrecht. "There's a lot of large families that have come together. We're also getting requests for cooking implements, cheap sets of pots and pans, because people are camping now."

As employees work overtime to accommodate this new surge of clients, they want to remind donors that it's not just evacuees who need help.

"All the donations that we do get in from disaster relief, I try to set it up in its own corner," said operations manager Joann Abiley. "As the disaster is going on, we still have to do our regular operations."

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This story will be updated.

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