LILIHA (HawaiiNewsNow) – The number of Hawaii seniors seeking assistance from the Lanakila Meals on Wheels program is growing. The organization now has a waiting list with the names of 90 seniors who have asked for food the organization cannot afford to provide.
"Hawaii has one of the fastest aging populations in the nation, one of the longest longevities, so what we're seeing is an ever increasing need for meals and for the first time in a year and a half we have had to implement a wait list and right now we have 90 people on that wait list," said Lyn Moku, Director of Lanakila Meals on Wheels.
Lanakila Meals on Wheels depends on volunteers who prepare, package, and deliver food for seniors who live alone and need assistance.
"I saw that there was such a need for doing something like this," said Darien Ching, a Lanakila volunteer for the past two years. "There were so many seniors that needed help and I just felt gratified in doing something for them," Ching explained.
Lanakila Meals on Wheels delivers an estimated 250,000 meals annually. The food is a life saver. The daily contact with the people who bring it can be just as important.
"A lot of our individuals, they don't belong to clubs and organizations. They need help. They're at home. There is no way for them to go out to get donations or ask people to help. So we need to reach for them somehow," said volunteer Lea Tam.
The program can always use more volunteers, but what it really needs now is money.
"We're looking for $120,000 just to maintain our existing programs, and another $170,000 to meet the needs of the 90 people who are on our wait list," Moku said.
Anyone who can donate time and especially money is urged to contact the folks at Lanakila Meals on Wheels.
The phone number is 531-0555.
You can learn more about the program by clicking on the link below.
"It's important because we need to end hunger for seniors. And there are seniors who may only get one meal a day, and if we are that one meal they are getting, we need to be able to provide it," Moku concluded.