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Feeding Our Future: Iliana’s Story

Feeding Our Future

It’s finally summer.

After a year like no other, the last thing a child should have to worry about is how their family is going to find the meals they used to get at school. Heading into the summer, Hawaii currently holds the second highest projected rate of child food insecurity in United States — making Hawaii’s keiki one of the most vulnerable populations in the entire country.

Due in part to the pandemic, more than 81,000 keiki — nearly 1 out of every 3 kids — may not know when they will get their next meal. As their families continue to get back on their feet in the wake of COVID-19, Hawaii Foodbank will help make sure they have meals on the table. Through summer meal programs like Feeding Our Future, we expect to provide roughly 10,000 meals or more this summer to keiki and their families facing hunger — keiki like Iliana.

Iliana is seven years old, and she has big dreams of becoming a doctor when she grows up. And she’s got a very unique reason for that choice.

Feeding Our Future

“I want to be a doctor when I grow up because they help people,” describes Iliana. “Just like summer meals are helping us.”

During the summer, Iliana and her younger brother get their lunches from a nearby summer meal program. “The meals lift a burden for me,” says their mother Jessica. “They keep the kids fed during the summer.”

I want to be a doctor when I grow up because they help people — just like summer meals are helping us.

— Iliana, 7 years old

During the school year, Jessica works for a temp agency, getting consistent work at local warehouses. But when the keiki are out of school during the summer, Jessica can’t afford daycare — so she stays home. That means the budget is tight, and food gets scarce.

Jessica reflects, “It’s so hard when I don’t have an income during the summer, but I don’t have a choice. Sending both kids to daycare five days a week would be too expensive.”

And that’s why summer meal programs are so important to families like Jessica’s. “It helps us out a lot,” she says.

At Hawaii Foodbank, we’re committed to strengthening our Food 4 Keiki programs like Feeding Our Future. These programs are critical not only because they provide immediate financial relief to parents, but they also ensure keiki never have to go a day without the nourishment they need.

Your generosity makes all the difference in nourishing our future generations. No matter how much you give, your donation makes a significant impact in setting up our keiki for a lifetime of success — which starts by getting them enough food to eat today. This summer, you can help make sure keiki get the meals they need to learn, grow and reach their full potential — just like Iliana’s dream of becoming a doctor.

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