The Perfect Storm
In Hawaii, we’ve seen our share of storms. With half of every year devoted to hurricane season, the people of Hawaii know how to anticipate a storm and prepare for the worst. But unlike a hurricane, tsunami or other natural disaster — we do not know when the current crisis will end.
For that reason, COVID-19 has created the “perfect storm” — that rare catastrophe made even worse by the combination of events surrounding it — for members of our ‘ohana trying to make ends meet.
Ongoing travel restrictions and hiring freezes continue to devastate Hawaii’s economy — contributing to the highest unemployment rate in the United States. At the same time, people are now paying higher prices for their groceries compared to before the pandemic. A recent report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reveals a nearly 50-year record rise in food costs. This makes food affordability even more difficult for people and families dealing with job and income losses.
According to Feeding America, roughly two out of every five people now relying on food banks had not received food assistance prior to the pandemic. We saw it here, too, as many Hawaii residents found themselves in need of help for the first time ever. Now, as tens of thousands are still unemployed — they find themselves in the precarious position of needing ongoing food assistance for months on end. As a result, the number of people in Hawaii facing hunger has increased by more than 50 percent.
As we plan ahead, our communities in Hawaii face a series of ongoing challenges:
- Economic limitations,
- Tremendous increase in need, and
- Decreased food supply.
With these challenges, Hawaii Foodbank remains committed to ensuring everyone has the food they need during this difficult time. Hawaii Foodbank provides the largest charitable food assistance network in the state — allowing us to execute our mission during this pandemic at a persistently intense pace with little or no reprieve. Our staff, volunteers and food partner agencies are on the front lines to bring food where it is needed most. Since the start of the pandemic, we’ve distributed food for more than 19 million meals to nourish Hawaii’s hungry keiki, kūpuna, families and individuals. And it’s because of you.
You are keeping Hawaii Foodbank strong.
In the last year, your support has been critical. It’s empowered Hawaii Foodbank to adapt quickly and create immediate solutions; provide ongoing, equitable food access to our communities; and reach families and individuals disproportionately affected by the pandemic and its economic fallout. Your contributions have helped us:
With your support, Hawaii Foodbank is working diligently to strengthen its feeding programs, build and nurture community partnerships, and find ways to sustainably plan for the future — all while continuing to respond to the immediate, ongoing needs brought on by COVID-19. It is our mission to ensure that this pandemic does not perpetuate inequity or deepen the burdens of those who are vulnerable. No storm — no matter how “perfect” — is greater than the strength of Hawaii’s resolve. You remind us of that.
We are grateful for your support, generosity and, most of all, your trust. Your investments in our mission enable Hawaii Foodbank to always remain a safety net for those in need — during this storm and beyond. Mahalo for helping us #RiseResiliently. Together.