HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - No senior should be sitting at home alone, hungry, and with no one to lean on. We've got a problem in Hawaii. Our population is growing older, and the list of needy kupuna is growing longer. That's why hundreds of our seniors made a beeline for the Capitol to rally Thursday.
It's a sign of tight budgetary times when Hawaii seniors take up the cause and march for meals. "Please don't take our meals away! Hip hip hooray!" the seniors shout.
They want people to know that the waiting list at Lanakila Meals-on-Wheels keeps growing - to 250 needy seniors - almost two-thirds an increase since Hawaii News Now did the story in back in November.
"If we are not able to raise some money through the community or get the money from the government," explains Lanakila Meals-on-Wheels director, Lyn Moku, "people are not going to have that nutritious meal."
Volunteers prep, package, and deliver up to 900 meals daily. Many elderly can't get out, so this food is their lifeline. The seniors who turned out at the Capitol are active, but they know they represent others who are home alone.
In the crowd, 88 year old Julia Santana - who's been involved in Meals-on-Wheels and its programs since 1978. "It gives us a life, as we get older," says Santana.
Then, there's 71 year old Ipo Aweau – who shows us the lunch she just received from Lanakila. "I have egg sandwich, and I have a cookie, juice, my celery and carrots, and of course, water."
Aweau says the Lanakila program is indispensable. I ask her, "So, without it, you might not have a meal?" She replies, "If I don't have that, then I don't eat."
Lanakila Meals-on-Wheels is hoping for continued public and private support because, as Hawaii continues to age, the challenges are likely to get worse.