‘The numbers are staggering': Waipio food distribution draws hundreds

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Updated: Aug. 14, 2020 at 5:43 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Twice a week, families desperate for food flood the Waipio Soccer Complex in Waipahu for the Ohana Produce Plus distribution.

It’s organized by Lighthouse Outreach Center.

"We don't come til 6:30 or 7:00 a.m., but the vehicles are already in at 4 in the morning," church Pastor Headrick Hunkin said.

There are hundreds of vehicles. Many carry families who lost jobs to the pandemic.

They wait hours for their turn.

“You know that they’re in need. They wouldn’t wait if they weren’t,” said Hawaii Foodbank Director of Mission and Quality Kim Bartenstein.

Hawaii Foodbank and its partner agencies supply the food.

On Friday, the distribution totaled about 33,000 pounds. And nearly 400 vehicles lined the driveway.

"At the end of the day that's the main thing we want to do is just to make sure that people are fed. They can get food and fresh produce and eggs and milk. It's super awesome!" Bartenstein said.

Lighthouse Outreach Center members and other volunteers hand out the food and count how many people will be fed.

"The numbers are staggering," Headrick said. "The last one was 1,780. It can go as far as up to 2,000 to 3,000."

That’s a lot but many more rely on the Hawaii Foodbank.

"Three-hundred sixty-five days of the year we're feeding people. Now with the pandemic the need is even greater," Bartenstein said.

This year, Hawaii Foodbank will hold its annual food drive online. Go to hawaiifoodbank.org to donate.

"For every $10 we can provide food for about 25 meals. Your dollar counts," Bartenstein said.

Hawaii Foodbank and its partners have held many food distributions during the pandemic, and there will be many more.

"This is what's happening now. It's real. This is what we're dealing with in the state," Headrick said.

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