The face of starvation has modified attributable to COVID-19. The Hawaii Foodbank desires to assist these in want
HONOLULU (KHON2) – The Hawaii Food Bank is facing unique challenges. With tourism being the island’s main industry, the need for food in 2020 was astronomical. Thousands of families from all walks of life are affected by COVID-19.
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“During the COVID, the face of hunger has evolved and changed. Much of this is due to unemployment, people are losing their jobs, jobs are being completely eliminated, and there is an immediate need for them and they remain constant, ”said Ron Mizutani, CEO and President of Hawaii Foodbank.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, lines in the distribution of food across the state have also been consistent.
“Hunger is something you know can affect anyone at any time,” said Kim Bartenstein, mission director for Hawaii Foodbank. “We all live from paycheck to paycheck and a lot of us don’t have jobs right now, so it’s even worse for them,” said Bartenstein.
The Yaris family of Kapolei is one of thousands who seek help for the first time.
“I’ve worked hard all my life and I never thought I’d do that,” said Mavin Yaris.
Both Marvin Yaris and his wife Ruby worked in hotels. When the coronavirus reached the islands, their tourism jobs disappeared.
“The money I saved is almost gone,” said Marvin.
It was stressful feeding his family of six.
“When I look at my grandchildren, my children, they are hungry,” said Marvin Yaris. “Before that, can I have a chip like Grandpa? Oh go go ‘Now? The fries are gone, ”he said of some of the heartbreaking conversations he had to have with his family about food.
Food insecurity is a problem that has only gotten worse due to the financial impact of COVID-19. Before COVID, about a million pounds of food left the Hawaii Foodbank warehouse every month. That number has tripled since the beginning of the pandemic.
“We understand that everyone has a story. Every vehicle has a story. Every volunteer as a story, ”said Mizutani. “If you stand in line, even if you drive a Tesla, BMW or Mercedes and we get them, don’t judge.”
Hawaii Foodbank’s annual budget is $ 400,000. The nonprofit has already spent nearly $ 10 million buying groceries since March to meet demand.
“Donations enable us to truly buy food at levels that you and I could never market or get,” Mizutani said. “I want to make sure people understand that there is help out there.”
The Yaris family said helping Hawaii Foodbank saved them during these troubled times.
“When this happened I cried, but I needed… So I lay on my side with my pride and left. I was ashamed, but when I went home I separated the food and ate. I thanked God and said, ‘Look! There’s someone out there, someone helping us. ‘”
Marvin Yaris said when the pandemic is over and he is able, he will return the favor.
“In return, I’ll give you something back,” said Yaris.
Click to register for a food distribution pop-up event Here. Click to donate to the Hawaii Food Bank Here.