Hawaii Foodbank is getting an extra $2 million to support ongoing efforts to feed families during a time of unprecedented need as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell announced  Friday.

Honolulu is matching a $1 million donation from the Hawaii Community Foundation for COVID-19 relief efforts, which will help prop up food distribution at four new locations across Oahu beginning Thursday, the mayor said.

“We could not have done this without the food bank saying, ‘We will be that hub to get that food distributed,’” Caldwell said from the foodbank’s distribution warehouse in Honolulu.

The Hawaii Foodbank serves over a million pounds of food every month. Ronen Zilberman/Civil Beat/2020

The new food distribution sites include Waipio Soccer Complex, Kakaako Waterfront Park, Kaiaka Bay Beach Park and Waimanalo District Park. The first location to kick off the rotation will be Waipio Soccer Complex, from noon to 4 p.m. next Thursday.

Hawaii Foodbank said the dates and times for the other locations will be posted on its website when they’re available. It’s also urging people to pick up food on behalf of several families if they can, to lighten the traffic flow.

“For this effort, we wanted to fill the gaps that the mayor talked about, and there are many gaps,” said Ron Mizutani, president and CEO of Hawaii Foodbank. “Our hope is that we can help relieve some of the stress so many are feeling right now.”

The nonprofit, which typically distributes nearly 1 million pounds of food each month at 200 partner agencies, saw up to a 30% spike in demand as of early April since Hawaii’s stay-at-home order was implemented March 25. On Friday, Mizutani said that demand had increased to 60%.

The four new distribution sites are estimated to reach 4,000 households per site with “high-quality food products,” provided by Sysco Hawaii, Hawaii Foodservice Alliance, Hawaii Ranchers Kauai, Hawaii Island, Maui and Oahu, and Hawaii Farm Bureau, according to the mayor’s office.

“Particularly, ranchers and farmers who provided food to hotels and restaurants, who do not have that opportunity now, can feed people in desperate need of food,” Caldwell said.

The Bank of Hawaii Foundation has donated $3 million to the Hawaii Resilience Fund of the Hawaii Community Foundation. One-third of the donation is dedicated to the meals distribution — $750,000 on Oahu and $250,000 for neighbor islands.

Roughly 250,000 people across Hawaii have filed for unemployment since the beginning of March.

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