EXCLUSIVE: No food service in Honolulu Community College cafeteria for 13 months

Published: Oct. 7, 2015 at 8:24 PM HST|Updated: Oct. 7, 2015 at 8:56 PM HST
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KALIHI, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - There's been no food served at the Honolulu Community College cafeteria for the last 13 months as school officials struggled to find a new vendor and brought in food trucks to temporarily serve the campus.

"I'm not really used to being in a cafeteria with no food so, the first time I came here, I was like, 'Whoa, where's the food?'" said HCC student Margaret Lam Yuen.

The cafeteria is still used by students, faculty and staff to study, hang out and eat food they bring from home or purchase from a food truck and coffee stand on the HCC campus.

"I rarely come to the caf' now because there's no food.  There's no reason of having a caf' if there's no food," said HCC student Trevor Pelesasa-Sefo, who misses breakfast that used to be served in the cafeteria.

"There are some of us that come early in the morning and want breakfast but the food trucks, they don't come until like nine, ten o'clock, but some of us have class at 8:30," Pelesasa-Sefo said.

HCC Chancellor Erika Lacro said she's has not been able to find a new food vendor since the last vendor departed in September 2014 because the school wants to provide food service all day for night time and weekend classes.

"We have required our vendor to provide service for breakfast, lunch, dinner and on Saturdays for our apprenticeship students," Lacro said. "It is a big commitment and we just had not found anyone interested in taking on that responsibility."

She said HCC also tried to have Kapiolani Community College and its culinary arts program provide food service at the Kalihi campus, but that didn't work out.

Now Lacro said the school has found a new vendor to re-start food service in the HCC cafeteria November 1.

In the meantime, students said they enjoy the meals at food trucks which offer plates costing $8 to $13, a bit more money than the $7.50 to $8  plates cost at the cafeteria before it stopped serving food last fall.

"It's kind of pricey but it's still good.  It makes you full," said HCC student Allein Lazaro.

Lacro said, "We will probably keep some of the food trucks on a rotational basis even with the new vendor.  They provide a nice variety for students, faculty, and staff."

Lacro said the cafeteria will be renovated starting next summer at a cost of about $1.75 million.

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