Efforts to feed Hawaii’s vulnerable amid pandemic prove successful

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Updated: Mar. 20, 2020 at 6:58 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - More than 1,000 kupuna on Kauai are making use of a program that delivers fresh, local produce straight to their doors.

Kauai Mayor Derek Kawakami gave an update on the county’s “Kupuna Kare of Farm Fare” program on Facebook Saturday.

The program, designed by community leaders, benefits both kupuna and local farmers. Its aimed at supporting farmers displaced by the closure of the island’s Sunshine Market.

Through a partnership with the Kauai chapter of the Hawaii Foodbank, kupuna who sign up will receive packages of fresh produce from local farmers.

The county launched the program last week and so far, more than 3,700 pounds of produce from Sunshine Market vendors have been distributed to around 300 kupuna on Kauai.

Now, Mayor Kawakami says 1,056 kupuna are enrolled in the program, and the county is working to get food out to those in need.

Senior citizens age 70 or older are eligible. The goods will be dropped off to reduce person-to-person contact.

Elderly residents who want to sign up can call 241-4470. Farmers interested in being a part of the program can call 241-4299. Operations begin next week.

Meanwhile, on Oahu, Boy Scouts in Hawaii are teaming up with the Catholic Church of Hawaii to help feed kupuna during the pandemic. They’re taking part in the Kupuna Needs Project, which is a service for the elderly on the island.

Those 62 years or older in need of food can call one of the project’s hotlines, either at 202-0820 or 202-1203, and place a request for supplies. Volunteers, including members of the Boy Scouts, will compile orders and send those orders to partner vendors.

Vendors will put together the orders and then volunteers will deliver them right to the homes of kupuna.

For more information on The Kupuna Needs Project click here.

Also on Oahu, catering and food truck operators are coming together to deliver some free meals.

Malama Meals along with the city and Catholic Charities will be making deliveries to seniors on Oahu over the next two weeks.

Meals will also be available to keiki who rely on the free or reduced school meal programs.

For more information on their efforts or to sign up, click here.

Community leaders say the program is expected to last about eight weeks.

The YMCA is also opening up grab-and-go food distribution sites across Oahu.

These sites will be open from 11:30 a.m. through 12:30 p.m. starting Monday, March 23 and going through Friday, March 27. If the program gets more funding, it may be extended through April 6.

Kids will be able to pick up a healthy meal everyday at the following sites: Kipapa Elementary School, Puohala Elementary School, Kalihi Valley International Bike Program, Palolo Valley Homes and Nuuanu YMCA.

All of the grab-and-go meals will be individually packaged and distributed outside the facilities.

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