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Foundation helps stock pantry on Molokai

Community members worked together to airlift food and other supplies to people in need on Molokai.

Nancy La Joy, executive director at Pacific Cancer Foundation, and Patient Navigator Avette Ponce from Molokai General, teamed up to help realize a cancer survivor food pantry on Molokai.

“One of the markets on Molokai had to close for a couple of weeks and we were worried about shortages,” said LaJoy. “We wanted to be sure our cancer survivors had what they needed to get by.”

The Pacific Cancer Foundation has been supporting the nutritional needs at Molokai General for over a decade. Sally Pechstein, a registered dietician/nutritionist makes regular visits to Molokai to connect with cancer survivors and host quarterly nutrition workshops. PCF typically sends Molokai General close to 100 cases of Ensure each year.

PCF board member Alysha Sparkman, from Equity One Real Estate, and her husband Sidney, who owns SGS Hawaii, donated over 2,000 pounds of supplies and were instrumental in sending a full plane of supplies to Molokai in mid-April. They were part of an effort put together by State Rep. Lynn DeCoite to assist Alu Like, a nonprofit organization that supports Native Hawaiian communities, and the air transport was donated by Kamaka Air. Some of these supplies also went to Aunty Janice’s House of Blessings, so that she could make and distribute kupuna bags.

Kimokeo Kapahulehua and the Kimokeo Foundation jumped in to join Nancy, Alysha and Sidney who went to work pulling together the logistics of another load of supplies. This one was for Molokai’s cancer survivors. Their first idea was to arrange for a boat to take the shipment over. Unfortunately, due to state restrictions, a boat was not allow to enter the harbor on Molokai. So once again Sidney reached out to Lynn DeCoite for help.

Kamaka Air came through with the offer of another plane. The plane was big enough to take supplies for the Pacific Cancer Foundation and another load to Alu Like. Jackie Foster, with Street Biker United Hawaii, Maui Chapter, and Ron Panzo from Nalus South Shore Grille and Ekolu, came through with two pallets of food and perishables. Another pallet was supplied by PCF and suddenly the plane was full with almost 2,000 pounds of food.

Avette Ponce from Molokai General along with Luigi Manera, owner of Architectural Drafting Services, and his wife Kaui with Alu Like, were there to meet the plane on Molokai.

The very next day Avette and fellow nurses Toni Kaulili and Helena Miguel set up the food pantry and began giving away food to Molokai’s cancer survivors. “It’s so hard not to hug everyone” said Avette.

“We are so thankful for the generous contributions of all our many sponsors. The people of Maui and Molokai are joined together to make this a happen for our cancer patients, survivors and medical staff. We couldn’t have done it without them.” said La Joy. Additional thank yous go out to U-Haul of Maui for all the boxes, Shae Martin for two boxes of nonperishable items and Raphael Wellerstein of Elite Pacific Properties.

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