Meals on Wheels promotes fundraiser as money sources become less certain

Lyn Moku
Lyn Moku
Alan Wong
Alan Wong

By Ben Gutierrez - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Lanakila Meals on Wheels delivers some 250-thousand meals a year around Oahu. One of those meals got a special delivery Saturday.

The delivery was courtesy of Alan Wong. The island chef packed up some of the meals to deliver to a senior.

"This is a chance for us to be able to give back to our elders or our kupuna," Wong said, "to make sure that they get the proper care and the nutrition that they need. And they are in need."

Wong and Meals on Wheels director Lyn Moku brought the meal to a Liliha-area apartment, where Hina Kahanu, 66, was waiting for them. The meals will help her for the coming week.

"It's a really big help to me because I can't walk right now," Kahanu said Wong handed her the meals, which she put into her freezer. "I'm on a no-walk order from the podiatrist, so this is a huge help." Kahanu was able to walk around her apartment, but her right ankle was heavily bandaged.

Wong delivered the meals in his role as the honorary chair of "The Good Table," a fundraiser for Meals on Wheels. The program gets about 60 percent of its funding from government sources, with the remainder from private donations. Neither source can be taken for granted.

"It's a real time of uncertainty," Moku said. "We don't know about the government funding, and everyone is having a hard time, just with the way the economy is and unemployment."

According to Meals on Wheels, the average recipient is a woman, 85 years of age, who subsists on an income of less than $10,000 a year. Providing meals to seniors enables them to stay in their homes. Meals on Wheels said it is the difference between $44 a week for home-delivered meals, compared to the $470 weekly cost of being in a care home or other institution.

Kahanu is one of about 2,000 seniors who get a meal from Meals on Wheels at least once a week. And that number is expected to rise, as Hawaii as one of the largest and fastest-growing aging populations in the nation.

"Just about every week, we're looking at maybe 10 to 15 new people are week that are applying for Meals on Wheels," Kahanu said. "So it is growing. And we expect it to grow significantly, especially with our aging baby boomer population."

Wong is hoping that the third annual fundraiser, held simultaneously at several Oahu restaurants on October 6, will at least keep the program at current service levels.

"Last year the proceeds provided over 20-thousand meals," he said. "And so our goal is to surpass that."

Related link: The Good Table

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