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Hunger Blog

“Food for Hawaii’s ‘Ohana” Initiative

Food for Hawaii's Ohana

In response to the unprecedented demand on food banks in Hawaii due to the financial consequences of COVID-19, Mayor Kirk Caldwell recently announced an innovative public-private partnership to provide food assistance to recently unemployed individuals.

“There are hundreds of thousands of people on O‘ahu right now who are struggling to make ends meet and wondering how long this will all last,” said Mayor Kirk Caldwell. “We are partnering with the Hawai‘i Community Foundation and Hawaii Foodbank to reach out to these people, and hopefully ease the burden of wondering how they’re going to put food on the table. In order for us to get through this, we all need to come up with creative solutions and work together to help those in need.”

The City and County of Honolulu, Hawaii Community Foundation and Bank of Hawaii Foundation are partnering with Hawaii Foodbank on an innovative public-private partnership to provide large-scale food assistance throughout O‘ahu. The City and County matched a $1 million donation from the Hawaii Community Foundation’s Hawaii Resilience Fund for COVID-19 relief efforts. The Bank of Hawaii Foundation is also contributing $750,000 for this effort on O‘ahu and $250,000 to feed families on the neighbor islands. All funds from the partnership go directly towards deploying several large-scale “Food for Hawaii’s ‘Ohana” distributions at various locations across O‘ahu.

“These collaborative efforts are an incredible demonstration of what can happen when we all come together.

— Ron Mizutani, president and CEO of Hawaii Foodbank

Four food partners — Hawaii Farm Bureau; Hawaii Foodservice Alliance; Hawai‘i Ranchers Kaua‘i, Hawai‘i Island, Maui and O‘ahu; and Sysco Hawaii — will provide high-quality food products for an estimated 4,000 households on each distribution day. Several community partners, including Hawai‘i Counts 2020 Census, Child & Family Service, Domestic Violence Action Center, and City’s American Job Center will also be on hand to provide valuable information to recipients.

“There are no words to adequately express our gratitude and appreciation,” said Ron Mizutani, president and CEO. “These collaborative efforts are an incredible demonstration of what can happen when we all come together. They will not only provide food assistance for the recently unemployed but also give critical financial support to key players in Hawaii’s food economy — and help kickstart a conversation about the importance of local food sources.

Update: Over 11 total distributions, the food “Food for Hawaii’s ‘Ohana” initiative distributed food for more than 40,000 O‘ahu households.

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