HONOLULU (KHON2) — The high cost of food is affecting many in the community, and food charities said the demand for their services is increasing as more people are needing help with putting food on the table.
These are challenging times for many families, a Kalihi grandmother Diane LaValle said, it is becoming more difficult to afford the essentials. She cares after her grandchildren while the parents work to feed the family. She was among a dozen residents who collected groceries from a food pantry at her local church.
“This is tons and tons of help, you have no idea,” LaValle said. “Especially with the pandemic and everybody trying to get — to get jobs and stuff, all of my grandchildren, it’s really hard. It’s really really hard so this helps out.”
Cedar Church in Kalihi is just one of many locations where Aloha Harvest delivers pallets of food. Church volunteer Youhui Yi said it is not uncommon to see lines around the church in recent weeks.
Yi said, “every week probably a 1,000 people or 1,500 people.”
Foods like fresh produce, eggs, bread and even dessert are available for those most in need.
Organizations like the Hawaii Foodbank and Aloha Harvest said it does not look like demand will be decreasing any time soon.
Aloha Harvest Executive Director Phil Acosta said, “we don’t know how this current of the inflation and potentially the recession that’s coming, how that’s going to affect people. How it’s going to affect their jobs, their purchasing power, and — oftentimes is always food, that’s first to kind of go out the window.”
Meanwhile, the Hawaii Foodbank said it is also seeing a steady increase in demand, a 15% jump from March to April alone. The cost of food is also about 30% higher prior to the pandemic.
The squeeze is being felt on both ends, the need in the community is rising while the number of donations from grocery stores is slightly down as the economic impact has also hit the retailers.
LaValle said he is saving plenty of money from removing the items at the food pantry from her grocery list.
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She said, “Over 50 bucks, way over $50 you know, so I am so thankful for this.”
Aloha Harvest is setting a goal to raise $30,000 by the end of June, people can donate here.