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Maui Food Bank Struggles To Recover Post-Shutdown

Salvation Army USA West
CC BY 2.0 / Flickr

The federal government shutdown earlier this year had unexpected impacts on several local nonprofits---including The Maui Food Bank. The Bank's stocks are still running low this month after distributions to federal workers and a busy holiday season.

Marlene Rice knew the winter months would be the busiest time of year for the Maui Food Bank. But she didn't expect it to coincide with a 35-day federal government shutdown. 

Rice said the food bank is now facing a shortage this month after doling out goods during the holiday season and to federal workers who were going without pay. And, the food bank is currently in between shipments. The next one isn't supposed to come until the first week of April. 

Every year, the food bank orders five containers of food from the Mainland. Each container brings in about 40,000 pounds of supplies. Along with the goods in the warehouse, that usually lasts for about six weeks or longer. But Rice said earlier this month that they were down to a 15-day supply. 

The food bank works with local agencies to distribute food to anyone who needs it. They fill backpacks with meals for students, and they deliver to low-income neighborhoods and senior homes. And, the community has played a big role. Rice said that 13 years ago, the nonprofit coordinated maybe 11 food drives a year. Now, it benefits from more than 1,000 drives that are mostly put on by local businesses, schools and places of worship.

Rice said food drives and monetary donations are always helpful. For more information, call 243-9500 or visit

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