In 1997, the Church of the Pacific opened a small food pantry that had semi-monthly distributions of canned and dry goods out of a member's garage. Over the years, the pantry has grown into a major ministry of the Church involving weekly distributions in three locations managed by up to 50 volunteers and requiring a large food storage shed, seven refrigerators and freezers, and a cargo van to transport food.
In the last few years, Covid-19 and the economic circumstances following it have doubled pantry participation by increasing the numbers of working poor and houseless families, many of which have been forced into camping, living in their cars and doubling up with other families. These people struggle to find adequate nutrition for their families. The politically correct term for that is being food insecure, which is tame, but unfortunately the word “insecure” describes everything else in their lives too.
In recognition of the fact that the pantry’s reach had extended beyond the Church of the Pacific lanai, its name has been changed to Ho`okipa Kauai Food Pantry and a nonprofit corporation, Ho`okipa Kauai, was formed in 2021 to manage the food pantry and seek expanded funding opportunities from foundations that will not donate to churches. By forming a 501(c)(3) corporation, the Church also gained the ability to partner with other churches and expand the scope of charitable activities, underpinned by Christian principals.
The principal Ho`okipa Kauai mission remains to help provide food insecure Kauaians with a nutritional foundation, so that they have an opportunity to work on all the issues in their lives. We want our pantries to mimic the one in Princeville, where we offer participants selections of meat, produce, drinks, dry goods, eggs, bread and canned goods, instead of just a pre-prepared bag of food. The name Ho`okipa Kauai Food Pantry was chosen to celebrate the manner in which we operate. Ho'okipa is the Hawaiian word for hospitality with a spirit of Aloha, meaning complete and unselfish hospitality extended to guests and strangers alike.
This is a 100% volunteer organization which charges nothing and is currently serving an average of 210 families with 440 individual family members per week, distributing a weekly average of 5,500 pounds of food. In addition, we offer pet food, personal hygiene supplies and limited camping supplies.