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Long lines for food have abated, but Kalihi center is still seeing great need from families

Published: Nov. 12, 2021 at 3:59 PM HST|Updated: Nov. 12, 2021 at 4:48 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The long food distribution lines that Hawaii saw during the height of the pandemic last year may be gone, but the need for food is still considerable, advocates say.

The Susannah Wesley Community Center says there are also concerns.

Among them: Some of their clients say their food stamp benefits are delayed.

The state Department of Human Services confirmed it is ‘experiencing delays and difficulties in reaching our Processing Centers to complete SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) renewals” as it addresses the “unprecedented volume of recipients.”

To help fill the gap, Susannah Wesley Community Center is holding a food drive this Saturday to help people like the Costas. The family have struggled to make ends meet as costs rise.

“Worried that we might not have enough food on the table if the electric goes out, the cable goes out. The domino effect. It’s one after another.”

The Center typically serves up 50 families, but center Executive Director Joni Chun says demand for food tripled last year and it’s still double pre-pandemic levels.

“We need to be bring in more food and expenses trying to fill that need,” said Chun.

Recent surveys show 48% of Hawaii families with children are food insecure. Chun says that means they’re going hungry or not getting enough nutrition.

“They might have food, but it’s the quality of food. They are eating ramen a whole lot. You know the cheap stuff,” said Chun.

The drive-thru Thanksgiving Food Drive at the center on 1117 Kaili Street is this Saturday. The distribution runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. For more information, click here.

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