Nonprofit scrambles to get food from canceled events, shuttered eateries to the needy

Catered events are being canceled, but the unused food isn’t being wasted

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Aloha Harvest is the largest food rescue and redistribution organization in Hawaii. The coronavirus pandemic has made things even busier.

Since last Friday, the non-profit has collected more than 40,000 pounds of donated food from events that were canceled and from restaurants that are now closed entirely or serving only takeout.

“The food is there right now. We want to make sure we make the best use out of that,” executive director Phil Acosta said.

“If they can’t process their food we’re glad that they doing the right thing before it goes to waste. They’re reaching out to us so that we can get it out to the community.”

So much food is coming that Acosta leased three additional delivery trucks, doubling the size of the organization’s fleet.

Pili Group is partnering with Aloha Harvest on the food rescue effort.

"Now we're really getting large amounts of things such as cases of meats and pallets of vegetables," Amanda Noguchi said.

Aloha Harvest secured storage space from the Pacific Gateway Center and the Weinberg Foundation. The Pili Group sorts the food then sends it to organizations that feed the hungry.

"I think we have about 40 partners currently that have really stepped out in their community and/or cook. So as fast as they're coming in we're getting them right back out," Noguchi said.

Aloha Harvest is arranging to have the food that's left over cooked and delivered.

"We're looking for resources where we can source local produce, some local meats maybe, to prepare chilis and stews that could stay a little bit longer. We could feed more people and stretch the dollar," Acosta said.

He expects the rush to peak in the next few days then taper off.

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