Hawaii Foodbank CEO taps into life lessons to prepare for 30th annual food drive

Hawaii Foodbank CEO taps into life lessons to prepare for 30th annual food drive

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - After more than 30 years as a broadcast journalist, Ron Mizutani is now the face of the Hawaii Foodbank.

He joined the organization last year as president and CEO.

"I once said I knew I would love this job. I didn't realize how much I would love this job," he said.

Mizutani relates to the people the food bank serves because he knows what it’s like to struggle.

He grew up on Kauai, the son of a single mom.

"She worked three jobs to make ends meet," he said. "We never went to bed hungry. Never. But we did go without."

When Hurricane Iniki devastated the Garden Island, it leveled his family’s home. He saw the aftermath and who came to Kauai’s aid.

“Truthfully, it was the food bank that responded with a million pounds of food,” he said.

Now, as head of that organization, he taps into those memories.

"We feed kupuna, we feed keiki. We feed working families like my mom, who are either a check or two from being in a situation they never thought they'd be in," he said.

Mizutani is married and has three children.

His approach at work is hands on.

Much of his day is spent on the floor of the Hawaii Foodbank, working alongside his staff, sweeping the floors, and meeting members of service agencies that collect the food for their clients.

He’s building relationships and trust.

"When I go out into the community and I speak or I talk to folks and families and organizations about what we do, that comes out," he says.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the food bank’s annual food drive. The goal will be to gather enough food for one million meals.

Mizutani never wants to lose sight of the people who are being fed.

“A meal can turn somebody’s day around, it can turn somebody’s life around,” he said.

For more information on the food bank’s drive, click here.

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