Food Connects Us
Food connects us. It brings us together, and it always feels most evident during the holidays. For many, the moment we look forward to the most this time of year is sharing a home-cooked meal with our loved ones. A lot of our most cherished memories are made sitting around the table together.
Like the smell of Mom’s turkey and special mashed potatoes. Or how about that time Uncle “accidentally” ate the last piece of pumpkin crunch before everyone got a taste? And, I’ll never forget the first time my wife made me her dad’s infamous Simon and Garfunkel stuffing — you know, because it’s got that perfect blend of “Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme.”
At Hawaii Foodbank, the holidays are a special time, too. It’s the time of year when providing food not only fulfills a basic necessity, but it also provides reason for comfort and celebration. It’s a time when we get to see the collective joy of bringing friends, community and ‘ohana together through food.
This year, though, it will be a holiday season like no other.
COVID-19 is forcing many people to rethink their holiday traditions. It is likely every household is struggling to determine what a safe family gathering will look this year; meanwhile, thousands more are grappling with the realities of hunger for first time in their lives. They’re finding themselves making tough choices between paying for rent, utilities, medication or food – let alone the thought of buying presents for the keiki.
Hunger in our communities continues to rise during this pandemic, and we are now providing more food than ever before. Since March, Hawaii Foodbank has distributed food for more than 16.5 million meals. In most months, distribution has doubled, tripled or even reached four times the amount of food as before the pandemic. As we enter the holidays, it is critical that we continue distributing food where it is needed so that Hawaii families can have meals on their tables — during the season and after.
That’s why our team has fervently worked to reshape our operations and create new food assistance opportunities across Hawaii. We’ve developed community partnerships to get more nutritious food to vulnerable kūpuna, worked with our food partner agencies to adapt our Food 4 Keiki School Pantry model and opened emergency Pop-up Food Distributions in areas with the greatest needs. None of it is possible without your support. Thanks to the help of countless donors, volunteers, community partners, food drives and fundraisers — we never have to stop providing safe food access to every member of our ‘ohana. It is a testament to our community’s resilience and dedication to one another. We cannot thank you enough.
The needs may not be waning, but neither is your spirit. It’s a spirit that brings us together. Just as food connects us, your generosity is connecting people all over Hawaii with the food they need. The holidays may look a little different this year; but with your help, food can remain the common thread that connects us all. It can be the catalyst that ignites hope and carries us beyond this pandemic.
From our Hawaii Foodbank ‘ohana to yours — happy holidays and mahalo for keeping us connected.