Dining Out For Kaua‘i Food Bank

In these tough economic times, Kaua’i Independent Food Bank (KIFB) is struggling to keep the island’s hungry bellies full. In 2010, the food bank filled 120,000 food requests by dispersing 730,000 pounds of food to local families and charities more than doubling KIFB’s donations for 2008.

Kelvin A. Moniz, director of food resources for KIFB, says this year the demand has more than doubled from last year, and there is more demand than supply. Evidence of the decrease in donations is apparent when he sees residents who used to donate regularly now picking up supplies.

You can help during this Thursday’s fourth annual Dine Out For Hunger, a KIFB fundraiser. By dining at a participating restaurant, 10 percent of your total food bill will be donated to the food bank.

“This is our third year in a row that we are participating with Kaua’i Food Bank’s Dine Out for Hunger,” says Mona Gonzaludo, special events manager for the Plantation Gardens Restaurant & Bar. “From the start, we loved the idea of all the restaurants on island coming together on one night for a good cause. Helping the community and giving back to people who live on our island is really important to us. It’s a win-win situation for everyone.

Not only can you dine with good company and eat delicious food, you are giving back to those in need at the same time.”

“It’s important to give back to the community,” says Ron Miller, owner and executive chef of Hukilau Lana’i, “especially to the people in need.”

Miller also helps feed the hungry at a KIFB-supported charity.

“We prepare soup for the Salvation Army’s soup kitchen in Lihu’e once a month,” says Miller, who offers a hearty chili and donates the food as well as his time. “We make food for about 100 people every third Wednesday.”

The food bank has two additional programs that provide fresh produce for the hungry. If you have more than enough fruit or vegetables growing in your garden, property or farm, it has a “gleaning” program to make sure the food goes to good use. If you have a garden, plant an extra row. If you need seeds, KIFB can provide them.

The “Plant A Row” and “Gleaning” programs are simple solutions that provide fresh food, essential for a healthy diet. It’s simple, easy and safe. Just call KIFB and they will schedule volunteers to pick, pack and deliver your extra produce. Of course, doing it yourself would put less strain on the already taxed nonprofit. Speaking of taxes, donations are a write-off, plus the Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act protects donors from liability.

“Our main reason for getting involved with the food bank is that it is our way of giving back to the community on Kaua’i,” says Scotty Phelps of Scotty’s Beachside BBQ. “The food bank’s Dine Out For Hunger program is a fabulous way to get involved. It’s definitely a win-win for everyone!”

Moniz says the economy is picking up on the Mainland, so we see more tourists, but the infrastructure of the island still needs shoring up.

“Things are getting better,” Miller adds. “We are certainly busier than we were last year, but I don’t think we are out of the woods yet.”

Dine at any of the following restaurants Aug. 11 and 10 percent of your bill will be donated to Kaua’i Independent Food Bank:

* Bobbie’s Restaurant
* Bobby V’s Italian Restaurant Pizzeria
* Brennecke’s Beach Broiler
* Bubba Burgers
* Da Booze Shop
* Harvest Market
* Hukilau Lanai
* Kalaheo Steak & Ribs
* La Bamba Mexican Restaurant
* Mark’s Place
* Mediterranean Gourmet
* Papaya’s Natural Foods & Café
* Plantation Gardens Restaurant & Bar
* Poipu Tropical Burgers
* Postcards Cafe
* Rob’s Good Times Grill
* Roy’s Poipu Bar & Grill
* Scotty’s Beachside BBQ
* Smiley’s Local Grinds
* The Jailhouse Pub & Grill
* Tomkats Grille
* Verde Restaurant

Kaua’i Independent Food Bank
3285 Waapa Road, Lihu’e 246-3809 kauaifoodbank.org