Volunteers loaded up thousands of pounds of free food for hundreds of Hawaii residents Saturday morning, including those struggling with the economic effects of the coronavirus.

The event at the Ala Moana Center ended in the early afternoon when no one else was waiting in line and supplies had almost run out, said David Sayers, public information officer for Salvation Army’s COVID-19 response.

Salvation Army and other volunteer organizations put together the event, with food donated by Chad and Stephanie Buck, founders of the Hawaii Foodservice Alliance.

Volunteers load milk, eggs, bread, and potatoes into the waiting cars of those in need who showed up in droves to the Ala Moana Center for emergency food pick-up on Saturday, April 11, 2020, in Honolulu, HI. The Salvation Army Hawaiian & Pacific Islands, Hawaii State VOAD, and private citizens Chad & Stephanie Buck worked together to offer the Easter weekend drive-through food distribution event. (Ronen Zilberman photo Civil Beat)
Volunteers loaded milk, eggs, bread, and potatoes into waiting cars at the Ala Moana Center. Ronen Zilberman/Civil Beat

“With more than 200,000 Hawaii residents without jobs due to this current crisis, we are grateful to be able to support those in need during this Easter weekend,” Victor Leonardi, divisional director of emergency services and safety, said in a press release.

About 643 cars stopped by to get food throughout the morning, Sayer said. The line of cars stretched from the distribution point at the Ala Moana Center at the corner of Atkinson Drive and Ala Moana Boulevard to Kapiolani Boulevard.

The Bucks donated over 2,000 gallons of milk, 4,300 cartons of eggs, 3,000 loaves of bread and 5,000 pounds of potatoes.

Volunteers load emergency food donations into the trunks of waiting cars at the drive-through distribution event hosted at the Ala Moana Center on Saturday, April 11, 2020, in Honolulu, HI. Milk, bread, and eggs were donated by The Salvation Army Hawaiian & Pacific Islands, Hawaii State VOAD, along with 5,000 lbs of Maui potaties donated by Chad & Stephanie Buck. (Ronen Zilberman photo Civil Beat)
To maintain social distancing, drivers were asked to stay in their cars while volunteers loaded food into trunks. Ronen Zilberman/Civil Beat

To maintain social distancing, drivers were asked to stay in their cars while volunteers loaded food into their trunks. About 80 volunteers helped out Saturday morning, Sayer said.

Salvation Army has ramped up its food distribution efforts since the pandemic triggered a surge of unemployment in the state. The organization typically serves about 12,000 meals a month, but since the pandemic hit Hawaii, they’ve been doing that in a week.

Salvation Army is still taking monetary donations, and has asked that people donate protein-based foods to include in their meals.

Salvation Army runs food distribution sites throughout the islands each week, according to its website.

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