The Hawaii Foodbank and the Honolulu unit of the letter carriers union reported last week that the statewide “Stamp Out Hunger” drive netted 635,204 pounds of food — doubling the 317,446 pounds collected in 2007.
In Maui County, the final tally was more than double the 26,206 received in the previous year’s campaign.
“It’s impossible to do this kind of work alone,” said Rich Yust, Maui Food Bank executive director. “We rely on the entire island ohana, and the residents of Maui really made it occur. They gave more than we expected.
“This really speaks for the residents of Maui and how they really care about their community.”
“Stamp Out Hunger” was organized by mail carriers 16 years ago as a way to support the food banks around the country as they gear up for the summer, when the need for food increases while youngsters are out of school.
For the 2008 drive in Hawaii, coordinator Adele Yoshikawa credited the support of business and organizations: Summerlin insurance; the AFL-CIO & AUW; Sand Island Carrier; and food drive Co-Chairman Bruce McDowell, who donated 500,000 bags that mail carriers left with their customers to be put out for the food drive.
“This year’s food drive was amazing,” Yoshikawa said. “We doubled the amount of food collected over last year, thanks to the addition this year of blue plastic bags that we placed in our customers’ mailboxes a few days before the drive.”
Among the post office districts, residents of the Mililani station of the Wahiawa Post Office led the state, donating 58,905 pounds of food products. In Maui County, residents in the Wailuku Post Office district set the pace with 16,788 pounds.
While expressing their gratitude for the donations from the mail carriers drive, Maui Food Bank officials noted there is a need for continuing donations through the summer.
Development Director Marlene Rice said an average of 5,000 pounds of food goes out daily to the nearly 100 agencies on Maui, Molokai and Lanai providing food assistance to the needy.
While the 69,000 pounds collected May 10 supplements other regular donations and provides a significant inventory, “it won’t get us through the summer,” Rice said.
She said other donation drives will continue this summer, with Maui County fire stations continuing to serve as food drop-off sites. Donations also can be taken to the Food Bank warehouse at Kolu and Hookahi streets in the Wailuku Industrial Park.
The Food Bank serves as a collection agency and distribution center for service agencies — such as the Salvation Army and Hale Kau Kau — that are directly involved in providing food assistance. The Maui Food Bank also ships products to agencies on Molokai and Lanai.
Maui Food Bank volunteer Amy Anderson, a nurse who recently moved to Maui, sorts through food donations that will be given to the nearly 100 agencies helping to feed the needy.
The Maui News / EDWIN TANJI photo