Thousands served during Hilo food giveaway

  • KELSEY WALLING/Tribune-Herald A volunteer directs traffic Wednesday during an Ohana Food Drop at Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium in Hilo.

  • KELSEY WALLING/Tribune-Herald Volunteers Ben Kaaihue, left, and Wayne Lawrence load food into the trunk of a car Wednesday during an Ohana Food Drop provided by The Food Basket at Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium in Hilo.

Hundreds of people lined up in their cars outside the Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium for The Food Basket’s Ohana Food Drop event in Hilo on Wednesday morning.

The Food Basket, Hawaii Island’s food bank, has been operating the Ohana Food Drop program since March and has been serving Hawaii County throughout the COVID-19 pandemic with no plans of slowing down.

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In the midst of the ongoing pandemic, The Food Basket Executive Director Kristin Frost Albrecht said the nonprofit is helping about 80,000 people a month through its network of partner agencies, its Ohana Food Drops and other programs.

“I think this will be the biggest one in Hilo we’ve had yet,” Albrecht said. “We’ll probably serve 3,600 people today.”

The Food Basket will travel to 10 Big Island locations this month and serve between 2,000 and 3,700 individuals at each site, according to Albrecht.

“It makes me sad that we do have to keep doing this and are seeing higher numbers every month,” she said. “However, we plan to keep the Food Drops going for as long as they are needed in these communities.”

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A full list of the Ohana Food Drop locations and information about other programs can be found on The Food Basket’s website at www.hawaiifoodbasket.org.

Email Kelsey Walling at kwalling@hawaiitribune-herald.com

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