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United. We. Stand.

Monday is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and Hawaii Foodbank will remain open – ready to respond to those who need our assistance.

This year, more than ever, we as an organization must stand side-by-side with each other and the families we serve – remembering the guiding principles of the late civil rights leader who stood for equality, peace and unity.

Yes – 2020 was a tumultuous year. Not only did COVID-19 turn our world upside down, but, sadly, we are also seeing parts of our country tailspin in destructive turbulence. At the heart of this turbulence – hatred. Hatred based on race, partisanship and a variety of other factors. It has created intense polarization that continues to damage relationships and trust between political leaders, throughout communities and even within our own families. We must begin to heal.

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that."

– Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Each year on the third Monday in January, America honors the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. with the only federal holiday designated as a national day of service. It is a day to encourage Americans to volunteer to improve their communities and respectfully mirror Dr. King’s contributions to our country.

I humbly ask all of you to take some time for reflection on Monday, think about what Dr. King represented and remember the movement he led. That same movement continues today, and Hawaii Foodbank’s mission is very much a part of that.

At Hawaii Foodbank, we believe in equal access for all.

Hunger does not discriminate based on occupation, background, race, religion, political affiliation or any other demographic factor. As such, our mission is committed to embracing every member of our ‘ohana – no matter the circumstances. Like Dr. King and those who served before and after him, we, too, can help individuals stand up for their own dignity by providing equal access to healthy food –  which, ultimately, can sustain hope for a better tomorrow.
 
What the world recently witnessed in our nation’s capital was shameful and heartbreaking. No matter what side you are on, it revealed how divided we have become as a nation. We still have much work ahead of us. It is our responsibility to see this through. At Hawaii Foodbank, I firmly believe that we can do our part by serving our mission with compassion, integrity and servant hearts.
 
The phrase, “United we stand, divided we fall,” can be traced back 2,600 years ago, but the first attributed use of it was in a song written by John Dickinson, one of America’s Founding Fathers. In using the phrase, he hoped to inspire unity – believing that together we can achieve greater success than we can alone.
 
I can’t help but grasp onto the first part of that phrase – even with all the turmoil of today’s events.

United. We. Stand.

I’ve seen it firsthand as our communities have rallied together in the fight against hunger. I’ve seen volunteers, organizations, groups and donors from all walks of life come together to help nourish one another before and during this pandemic. I have full faith that they will continue to do so long after, as well. This collective kōkua gives me hope. It shows me we can stand tall together.

Dr. King’s life echoed that sentiment. His example provided our nation with an inspiring vision, and his actions reminds us how meaningful it is to make a positive difference in someone’s life. Thank you for your service to our communities. I extend my deepest gratitude to you all and your families as we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

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