HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The state Education Department now has 38 grab-and-go sites statewide that give out breakfast and lunch.
Leaders say the meals are an important safety net for their students.
“We want to get to the places where people maybe don’t have the transportation to get to the schools as much as we can,” said Randall Tanaka, a DOE assistant superintendent.
"We can't serve them all, but we are going to do our best to get as many as we can," he added.
From Waianae High School to King Intermediate in Kaneohe, there were long lines of cars filled with families in need Wednesday picking up the meals. The DOE opened nine more sites Wednesday and more will come on board.
When everything is ramped up, they hope to hand out 10,000 meals.
There’s also several grab-and-go sites run by non-profits. The YMCA has five sites on Oahu like one at Puohala District Park this week with food prepared at KCC. It’s asking for donations to keep going.
“The YMCA thought how can we help so we are trying to supplement the sites in different areas of Oahu that didn’t have a close elementary school that the DOE was providing the meals at,” said Jenn Corley, YMCA Windward membership director.
Na Kama Kai is another nonprofit partnering with the Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center to hand out grab-n-go bags at Makaha Elementary and two other sites. They also need donations to keep it going.
"The realization that schools weren't opening was a big hit to a lot of the keiki not having access to nutritious lunches," said Duane DeSoto of Na Kama Kai.
“We are not only educators, but also the social safety net for some of these families,” said Tanaka.