One of the largest food pantries on Oahu is preparing to close next month if a new location is not found.
Feeding Hawaii Together’s building on Keawe Street was sold, so occupants need to be out by the end of December. Operators estimated the pantry provides more than 3 million pounds of fresh, dry and canned foods to more than 57,000 individuals each year. If its doors close, even temporarily, they fear that more individuals could become homeless.
“People have a tough time. They can pay the rent, they can pay their utilities,” said board member Gill Berger. “They get to week two, week three in the month, and they don’t have the money left for groceries.”
Feeding Hawaii Together plans to shut down in early December.
Assistant Director Diana Lorenz said pantry leaders have looked at 30-35 buildings – some at the suggestion of community members and lawmakers – but none meet their specifications: being near a bus line, a location on the ground floor, at least 6,000 square feet of space and a rent amount they can afford.
“It’s really sad because it’s 15 years we’ve been there, and this is the worst time to be looking for property because the price went so high with all the high-rises,” said executive director Charlie Lorenz.
As things stand, Dec. 1 will be the last day food is given out to the community, and final operations will include a Christmas giveaway Dec. 2-3.
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