Meals on Wheels Program Gets Big Donation, Still Needs More

James Ishimine
James Ishimine
Remy Rueda
Remy Rueda

KALIHI (KHNL) - Help is pouring in for a program that delivers food to needy seniors.

A local company steps up with a big donation. But the group is still far from its goal to make sure there are no cuts in services.

Island Insurance Foundation is matching all donations up to $25,000 to help the Lanakila Meals on Wheels. That money will save some seniors, but not all of them.

Friday is delivery day for James Ishimine. Volunteers from Lanakila Meals on Wheels brings him a bag of prepared frozen food. And now, he's set for the week.

"I just take the cold food and put em in the microwave oven and warm um up," said Ishimine.

"I get hard time if I gotta go stand up and cook," said the 71-year old, who's now in a wheelchair after losing part of his left leg.

The program helps more than 720 seniors like Ishimine. But cuts in their budget means they'll have to stop serving 233 people starting next month.

"Maybe I gotta hire some kind of aid for cook me, and I no more money for pay that kine," said Ishimine.

"He is mostly homebound, and to him, to be able to take care of cooking nutritious meals is kinda an insurmountable task," said Remy Rueda, program director for Meals on Wheels.

The Island Insurance Foundation steps forward, offering a $25,000 matching grant, which will help 30 seniors. And Lanakila's received donations to help 19 more.

"It means that a lot of seniors are not going to go hungry," said Rueda. "They're not going to be dropped off of the program anymore."

But they're still trying to raise more than $300,000, so no seniors will have to be cut.

"Cannot help if they cut me off," said Ishimine.

But you can help, so Ishimine can continue enjoying his favorite -- spaghetti and meatballs.

The president of Island Insurance Foundation calls this situation a "crisis" and says our community needs to respond quickly so no seniors are cut.