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For 50 years, they’ve been serving Hawaii seniors healthy meals with a side of aloha

Published: Sep. 21, 2021 at 4:31 PM HST|Updated: Sep. 21, 2021 at 4:49 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Lanakila Meals on Wheels is the oldest meal provider for seniors and disabled people on Oahu, and it all started with a lunch wagon at Aala Park and a few sites where seniors gathered to dine.

“Lanakila Meals on Wheels started in 1971 under contract with the City and County of Honolulu. It was originally called the Honolulu Nutrition Program,” said Laurie Hara, Lanakila Pacific’s communications and marketing manager.

In 1982, the non-profit began delivering meals to seniors’ homes, taking along a side order of social interaction.

“Many of them live at home by themselves,” Hara said. “Sometimes the volunteers are the only person that they get to see.”

Every month it now delivers more than 30,000 meals to seniors. And the organization has added other programs.

Kupuna Tech teaches seniors how to use their smart phones and how to access the internet. Kupuna Connect is a virtual gathering space where seniors socialize.

And it launched a program called The Green Bag.

“The Green Bag is a home delivery service of a curated selection of fresh produce, fresh fruits and vegetables from Hawaii farmers. So we get to support local farmers at the same time,” Hara said.

Volunteers have always been the backbone of the operation.

“Truly, we can’t do it without them,” Hara said. “They are the ones that not only pack the meals, but they also go out there and deliver them across the island.”

To celebrate its 50th anniversary, Lanakila Meals on Wheels will hold a virtual bingo event on Oct. 2. Game cards are available from Sept. 22 to Oct. 1 at Kahala Mall stores and shops.

“Our players have a chance to win great prizes like $50 gift cards from Kahala Mall merchants. It’s going to be a lot of fun,” Hara said.

Anyone can play because the non-profit wants to thank everyone who has had a hand in helping it feed those who count on Lanakila for a good meal.

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