Hawaii Foodbank Needs Community Support to Meet COVID Demand

COMMUNITY

Honolulu (KHON2) – C. S. Wo & Sons donated $25,000 to the Hawaii Foodbank and you can help too.

“Over the last year, the face of hunger has evolved and changed a lot,” says Danny Schlag, Director of Marketing and Communications. “In Hawaii, we’re still dealing with the heavy economic fallout – especially as many industries and businesses rely so heavily on tourism. Hawaii is currently experiencing the nation’s highest unemployment rate, which is more than 9 percent. At the same time, reports indicate people are now paying higher prices for their groceries compared to before the pandemic. As a result, many people find themselves in need of help for the first time in their lives.”

Schlag adds, “With the added impact of COVID-19, more than a quarter of a million Hawaii residents are now struggling with hunger. Among them are out-of-work parents, isolated kūpuna and 1 in 4 keiki. This means hunger has increased by more than 50 percent compared to before the pandemic – representing the fourth highest percentage change in the United States. Accordingly, the most pressing challenge we faced as an organization over the last year was responding to the tremendous increase in need. As Hawaii’s leading hunger-relief organization, it was paramount that Hawaii Foodbank immediately provide relief for people affected by the pandemic while continuing to meet the needs of those who were already struggling with hunger prior.”

To keep food supply on pace with demand and keep providing safe food access to as many people as possible, we had to begin purchasing food like never before. Since March of last year, Hawaii Foodbank has purchased nearly $12 million worth of food. This is compared to our typical annual food purchase budget of $400,000. At the same time, we also began cultivating relationships with our local farmers, ranchers and fishers. Through partnerships with organizations like Hawaii Farm Bureau, we were able to buy local produce directly from local farmers. The benefit of this was that we could get provide immediate support to our local economy while also providing high-quality, nutritional food to our communities in need.

Hawaii Foodbank has been able to execute its mission at a persistently intense pace with little or no reprieve – and it’s all because of the community.  Donors, volunteers, food partner agencies and community of supporters have carried our mission throughout this pandemic. 

Three easy ways to help are by making a donation, volunteering and advocating.

Monetary donations help meet today’s need and plan sustainably for the future. At the same time – The Hawaii Foodbank wants to remind the community that physical food donations are completely safe, and they immediately help keep our shelves stocked.

Volunteers are critical to maintaining operations. People can volunteer by sorting donations at the warehouse, pre-packing emergency food boxes, helping at a distribution and more.

A big part of the Hawaii Foodbank mission includes eliminating the stigma around hunger. There is no shame in asking for help or receiving food assistance. People can help advocate by following on social media and keeping hunger a part of the conversation.

Website: HawaiiFoodbank.org

Social Media Handles: @HawaiiFoodbank

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