Orders dried up so this catering business dug into its savings to help feed kupuna for free

Orders dried up so this catering business dug into its savings to help feed kupuna for free

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The busy Friday at Uncle Glenn's Hawaiian Food in Kaneohe didn't ring the cash register.

The meals being packed into bento boxes would be handed out for free to senior citizens on the Windward side.

"My husband and I made the decision to take care of our kupuna," co-owner Ramona Silva said.

On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, she and her husband, Glenn, and their family prepare and serve 125 free takeout lunches.

They started doing it in mid-March with Malama Meals. The Office of Hawaiian Affairs provides some funding.

"I am so thankful for their help. OHA had to fund a lot of places that were asking for help," Ramona said.

OHA pays for 71 of the lunches per day. The Silvas pay for the rest at a cost of more than $1,100 a week.

They do it because they can't bring themselves to turn seniors away.

"With the people that come by and pick up food and the people that we deliver to, it's rewarding. They're happy," Glenn said.

Up until Memorial Day they also footed the bill for all 125 meals on Tuesdays and Thursdays. That cost them $2,500 a week.

The Silvas used money from their savings. Their giving comes at a time when their catering company lost 80% of its revenue because of cancelled events due to restrictions the state imposed in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

"Those all came to a stop because of the situation," Ramona said.

But good things happen to good people. A GoFundMe campaign restored some capital to the company. But the Silvas said they no longer need that help.

"Things have changed and I don't want to take more than what we need," Ramona said.

The city just approved Uncle Glenn’s for a reimbursement program.

The Silvas will continue serving the lunches through the middle of July when OHA funding ends. But they may continue providing some free meals if the need is still there.

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