HILO, Hawaii – An annual, major food drive on the Big Island has been interrupted by Hurricane Madeline.
The Hawai`I Island’s Food Bank’s annual Feed-A-Thon, hosted by longtime ambassador Tommy “Kahikina” Ching for 15 years, is being forced to skip its second day at the KTA Super Stores Puainako location. KTA will be closing early Wednesday in anticipation of Hurricane Madeline.
The ten-day event began on Aug. 24 and remains scheduled to run through Sept. 2. Ching and The Food Basket crew were scheduled to complete their second day at the Hilo location on Wednesday, Aug. 31 before heading to KTA Super Stores Keauhou.
We spoke to Kahikina about the effort, and the change in plans, at KTA on Tuesday. He has been doing it for 15 years.
“I’m really bummed, but we will be back at it on Thursday in Keauhou,” said Ching. “In 15 years of conducting the Feed-A-Thon, this is the first time it has ever been interrupted for any reason.”
Ching hopes to raise enough food and monetary donations for The Food Basket to feed the most vulnerable residents on the island during the non-peak giving period, and the hope is to still meet the fundraising goal regardless of the event being shortened by a day, organizers say.
Non-perishable food and monetary donations have been accepted during the first seven days of the drive and will continue to be collected at KTA Keauhou on Thursday, Sept. 1 and Friday, Sept. 2.
With one less day of the drive, community members are invited to donate online via the non-profit fundraising platform Classy.org.
The mission of The Food Basket, Inc. is to feed the hungry in Hawai`i County while attending to the root causes of this critical social problem. The Food Basket “will accomplish its mission by preventing the waste of all edible food in Hawaii County, feeding the hungry with this food, educating the community about local hunger and what can be done to solve this social problem, and collaborating with organizations of partnering missions to eradicate the root of hunger and other social ills, such as poverty,” representatives say.
“This situation punctuates exactly why we need this kind of drive,” said The Food Basket’s Executive Director En Young. “In an event like a hurricane, the entire community is going through it together, so when folks are collecting what they need and giving a little bit extra it helps the entire community to weather the storm, be it a hurricane or chronic hunger.”