When Covid hit the island of Kauai we were 100% shut down to tourism, stopping our primary industry which accounts for well over half of Kauai's jobs. This immediately put our actual unemployment rate well over 50%. Kauai was already 8 months into an economic recession with many of our local businesses on the brink of collapse.
I own the one gift shop on Kauai that sells only locally made stuff - The Kauai Store. Because I carry locally made foods I could stay open as an essential service. During the first couple of weeks many of the people coming in to the store were there to buy a mask for the first time so that they could go to the grocery store. They were in shock and many were down to the very last of their money.
My own business, a gift shop for tourists, had essentially died and I also found myself with rapidly dwindling funds. I have a hard time watching people suffer so I cleared out an entire section of my gift shop and started the Kapaa Community Food Pantry.
We have been open for 7 months now and are the ONLY full time food pantry on Kauai. We provide food for over 100 people per day, 5 days a week - all with just community donations. In addition to food we have been providing camping supplies to help all the newly homeless people adapt to living outside. This is our community and these are our people.
We are not a non-profit , I just volunteered my time and we have been using my gift shop for space. All the food we get is donated from the community. Dry goods from people's individual Costco runs, produce from local farmers, back yard fruits, hand-me-downs from the food programs etc.
We provide food for OVER 100 PEOPLE PER DAY and continue to operate out of my gift shop relying entirely on community donations. Managing the food pantry is more than a full time job that I have done for months with no pay. I have also taken on $17,000 in debt keeping it open.
The Kapaa Community Food Pantry is an amazing community effort and we continue make a huge difference in so many people's lives.
We are in the process of creating a non-profit for the pantry so that we can qualify for food and other grants. This will not happen overnight so we still need to rely entirely on our community for support.
The local Kauai newspaper has run a couple articles on us:
We closed for July and reopened in August:
WHAT WE ARE ASKING FOR: HELP PAYING BACK RENT AND UTILITIES
The Kapaa Community Food Pantry has been open since April and we need help paying back rent and utilities. With the expenses we will accrue through the end of December we will owe just under $17,000. That is a lot of money for a guy who has been volunteering his gift shop to be the community's food pantry.
If you can help pay these back bills that would be amazing!!!
WHAT IS TO BE DONE WITH ANY EXTRA FUNDS - UP TO AN ADDITIONAL $40,000?
If you guys really want to help us, any funds raised above this goal will go towards putting The Kauai Store back on it's feet! By restocking our inventory with locally-made products we can make an important impact on our local economy. The Kauai Store is the "Amazon" of Kauai but has not been able to restock since Covid and is now out of all the perishables and our other most popular items. It would take about $40,000 to completely restock and relaunch The Kauai Store.
These are huge asks but I have been told to ask for what you really need.
WHAT IS TO BE DONE WITH ANY FUNDS RAISED BEYOND THAT?
If something amazing were to happen any funds raised beyond what is needed for back bills and relaunching the store will be used to help Kauai's newly homeless and other Kauai residents in need. Tents, tarps, rope and headlamps are amongst the most requested items from our newly homeless people.
The Kapaa Community Food Pantry has been a blessing to so many lives and now we are once again asking for your help. Any size of donation is so greatly appreciated!
Please share this fundraiser to anybody who can help us help the people of Kauai!
- Steve Breazeale
- Susan Buckley
- Alexis Boilini
- Gabriella Stuart
- Marian Head
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