#HawaiiStrong: Keep Hawaii Cooking program to honor frontline workers of the Coronavirus pandemic


HONOLULU (KHON2) – Central Pacific Bank’s initiative “Keep Hawaii Cooking” has already helped restaurants struggling during the Coronavirus outbreak. Now, the program is expanding to honor frontline heroes.

The program not only helps local residents keep food on their tables but it’s kept the doors open for restaurants as well.

“I was so moved by CPB the best way to describe it was like a stimulus package a Hawaii stimulus package it created a lot of people to get off of their couch and come in and start spending,” said Ross Okuhara owner of En Fuego Grill and Catering.

Okuhara says the program allowed his business to flourish even during these uncertain times.

“We were down about 80 percent once the lock down started. Most restaurants were down about 70 to 80 percent or so, even our suppliers. So that bump up actually gave us hope, gave us life and it actually gave our supplies. It trickled down to our suppliers and it benefited them as well,” said Okuhara.

The first phase of Keep Hawaii Cooking has wrapped up and to build on that success “Mahalo Meals” is kicking off.

“Go to our Instagram page at Keep Hawaii Cooking and nominate any frontline worker that they know, simply by tagging them and saying why they’re a hero to you. And each week we’re going to pick 10 frontline heroes and deliver 30 Mahalo Meals to the team that they work with,” said Kevin Dahlstrom, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at Central Pacific Bank.

Central Pacific Bank wants to dedicate this new imitative to the men and women who sacrifice their lives every day for our community.

“All of us are doing our part by staying at home but that’s easy. The hard part is going to work everyday knowing that you face risk of infection and so it was an easy decision to focus the program on those front line workers, police, fire, nurses, healthcare workers to just maybe brighten their day a little bit.”

This is just the beginning, Central Pacific Bank says they’re ready to keep the programs rolling out as long as this pandemic continues.

“Central Pacific Bank and Central Pacific Bank Foundation which funded Keep Hawaii Cooking are going to be there to continue supporting Hawaii as long as it takes. In fact we do have another program in the works called Keep Hawaii Working. I can’t reveal the details on it quite yet but stay tuned and we’ll be announcing it soon,” Dahlstrom said.

To find out more information about the Mahalo Meals Program a part of the Keep Hawaii Cooking project, click here.

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