Food assistance program to recently unemployed set to conclude
News Release from City and County of Honolulu, June 4, 2020
HONOLULU – A public-private partnership between the City and County of Honolulu, the Bank of Hawaii Foundation and the Hawai‘i Community Foundation to provide food assistance to recently unemployed individuals is set to conclude with two remaining food distribution events at Aloha Stadium.
“The public private partnership we shared with the Bank of Hawaii Foundation and the Hawai‘i Community Foundation gave us an opportunity to help tens of thousands of O‘ahu families with much needed food assistance,” said Mayor Kirk Caldwell. “Just because this food distribution is concluding it doesn’t mean we’re giving up on the effort to make sure people have access to healthy, locally-grown food. This will be a continuing effort throughout this pandemic.”
The first food distribution event was held on Thursday, April 30, at Waipi‘o Peninsula Soccer Complex. Since that time, eight other food distribution events have been held at Aloha Stadium providing approximately 2,160,000 pounds of food to roughly 36,000 families on O‘ahu. The City has put in an additional $225,000 to support two more events in June to provide food to 5,000 more families to help the transition as the City slowly starts to reopen. An updated resource list will be provided at the final two distributions as well as being available online at oneoahu.org. It is important that residents know where to access food after the last mass food distribution ends, as well as how to access other resource support.
“As we begin to reopen our local communities, we will learn what the future holds and we will adapt together, said Ron Mizutani, Hawai‘i Foodbank President and CEO. “Yes, we are winding down our mass food distribution initiative but the Hawai‘i Foodbank is prepared to continue serving families through our partner agencies, food pantries and community distributions. We will provide every family who comes to the last food distributions with helpful information and long-term resources that will empower them with options to move forward through these challenging times. We are humbled to be a part of this effort and we know our work is not done.”
The next food distribution event will be held on Thursday, June 4, at 9 a.m. at Aloha Stadium. The final distribution event will occur on Tuesday, June 9, also at 9 a.m. at Aloha Stadium.
The public-private initiative was spurred by the unprecedented demand on food banks in Hawaiʻi due to the financial consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic on island families. With an economic downturn, closures and shorter business hours, and increased unemployment, demand for Hawai‘i Foodbank food assistance has increased nearly 60 percent and is expected to continue to rise.
In addition, the City and County of Honolulu matched a $1 million donation from the Hawai‘i Resilience Fund of the Hawai‘i Community Foundation (HCF) for COVID-19 relief efforts. The funds were used by the Hawai‘i Foodbank to deploy food distributions on O‘ahu; this was in addition to the existing food distributions at 200 Hawai‘i Foodbank Partner Agencies island wide.
Mahalo also to our four food partners; Sysco Hawai‘i; Hawai‘i Foodservice Alliance; Hawai‘i Ranchers Kaua‘i, Hawai‘i Island, Maui and O‘ahu; and the Hawai‘i Farm Bureau who provided high-quality food products at each of the distributions held since April.