HONOLULU (KHON2) — Dotty Kelly-Paddock is at the center of the hustle and bustle of the monthly food distribution event at Hauula district park.
She started the Ohana Food Distribution program in 2016, in partnership with the Hawaii Foodbank to fill the needs of the community and much more.
“It brings people together. It also builds community, engaging in all these things,” said Kelly-Paddock. “All these volunteers you saw here today, I’ll bet we had 35 volunteers. They love it!”
The volunteers have rallied around Kelly-Paddock as she has worked to establish a community service machine in Hauula.
With Kelly-Paddock at the helm, the community created and runs a free food pantry at the Hauula Community Center, and a monthly food box delivery program for senior citizens from Kaneohe to Kahuku.
“She had a dream. And she started a dream. Dotty is everything to this community,” said Hauula resident Ella Sirosky.
Kelly-Paddock arrived in Hauula from San Francisco, 32 years ago.
“I drove to Hauula and looked around, and I just bought a house that very day,” said Kelly-Paddock.
She spent 25 years at the University of Hawaii at Manoa center for disability studies, as director of the Pacific Outreach Initiative.
Kelly-Paddock is using her 40 years of experience as a grant writer to help improve the quality of life for her beloved community.
“And so I know how to find the money and write what’s needed to get the money,” said Kelly-Paddock.
Kelly-Paddock and her volunteers offer a wide range of services that support the Hauula community, from keiki to kupuna.
“She’s brought the open market, the farmer’s market to Hauula,” said Hauula resident and volunteer Bae Auma. “And that helps a lot of vendors like myself, small businesses or whatever to reach out and be able to earn some kind of income.”
And while these volunteers spend hours each week fulfilling the needs of others in their community their work here, in turn, fulfills them.
“Total community involvement. So many volunteers, I just can’t emphasize,” said Sirosky.
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“Everybody here is like family to me,” said Kelly-Paddock. “I know everybody in the grocery store. People come and share, and it’s just a great place to live. I’ll never go back to any other place. This is it for me. I love it.”