HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - With a third of Hawaii’s workforce unemployed, more and more people are depending on the generosity of others — just to get the basics.
Day after day, hundreds of people are turning out for food distribution events.
And Monday was no exception.
Expecting a large turnout, members of Lighthouse Outreach Center relocated their weekly food distribution event Monday to the parking lot of the Kalihi Police substation.
“This is our first distribution in Kalihi,” said senior Pastor Headrick Hunkin.
For more than two decades, church members have handed out food twice a week in central Oahu, typically serving close to 200 people. But these aren’t ordinary times.
“I’ve never seen the need this great,” Hunkin said.
In a little more than an hour, an assembly line of volunteers handed out food for nearly 1,700 people.
Mylane is one of them. Sitting in the backseat of a car she told Hawaii News Now, “It’s my first time.”
The housekeeper says she’s been out of work since March 15 and just recently received her first unemployment check. But it’s not enough to cover the basics.
“It’s better to work than having unemployment,” she said. “We are very thankful for this event.”
The first cars in line began to show up at 7:30 a.m. — three and a half hours before the food giveaway started.
“It breaks my heart,” said Hunkin. “There’s some houses, there’s nothing. There’s three, four kids trying to find out if they’re going to eat or not.”
Cars snaked slowly through the parking lot of the police station, some drivers picking up groceries for up to three families.
“We were a little concerned how far we might back up cars and how it would effect traffic,” said police Capt. Robert Towne. “Everything’s running really smooth right now.”
Although food went fast, church members made sure no one left empty handed.
Hunkin says he’s planning another food giveaway at the Kalihi substation on May 14 at 11 a.m.