Solutions To Maui’s Hunger Problem

October 7, 2011, 2:53 PM HST
* Updated October 7, 2:54 PM
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By Madeline Ziecker

maui food bank drop off

Maui Food Bank drop-off bin. Photo courtesy Maui Food Bank.

The fact that there are as many as 107 organizations involved in feeding Maui County’s hungry is perhaps indicative of the hunger problem in the islands – and of Maui County’s willingness to help.

These organizations have done a great deal to address the hunger problem in several Maui areas, pooling together their resources to solve this issue in at least three ways for different age groups.

MAUI FOOD BANK has 62 participating agencies on Maui including several churches, Boys & Girls Club Maui, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and Women Helping Women. 18 organizations on Molokai and two on Lana’i have also partnered with Maui Food Bank. 

Maui Food Bank is currently serving over 10,000 people in need per month, 40% of whom are children.


Their mission is to help the hungry by collecting and distributing food through community partnerships in Maui Nui.


The Maui Food Bank strives to aid Maui’s hungry by focusing not only on the quantity of food distributed, but also on the food’s nutritional value. Currently, Maui Food Bank is one of 14 food banks in the country to partner with Mazon (who is also partnered with Kaiser Permanente) to start the “Healthy Options, Healthy Meals”  initiative.

Executive director Richard Yust explains that Maui Food Bank has been working with the Maui Farm Bureau to try and incorporate fresh produce and other nutritious foods into their food distribution programs.

“We’ve been purchasing more nutritious foods with less sodium because we realize that many people being serviced on Maui are also suffering from various medical problems. Now we’re finding that clients are actually more interested in healthy alternatives like fresh produce and health food. It makes us feel better when clients want to be healthy, it’s a win-win for everyone.”


Solution One: Senior Mobile Pantry

This distribution program gives out free food to senior housing sites throughout Maui, providing nutrition to seniors who are struggling to maintain their health.

Solution Two: Kids Cafe

One of the most expansive programs in the nation for  feeding children. Kids Cafe provide healthy meals to children in need who participate in after-school programs and activities throughout Maui. Through this program, over 31,200 meals have been served to youth who are at risk of going hungry over a one year period.

Up-coming events:

  • Restaurant Week in Wailea, November 6 – 12
  • Check-out Hunger – at all Safeway Stores for the Holiday Season (no actual dates at this time)
  • American Savings Bank provides Feed a Family this Holiday Season, November 6 – December 22

For more information on the Maui Food Bank visit

FEED MY SHEEP organizes mobile programs to not only to help fight hunger, but also to feed the minds, bodies and spirits of the Maui community through Maui Food Bank. 

Feed My Sheep began in 1999 with individual bags of free groceries being brought to weekly youth meetings and has since grown to serve Hana, Haiku, Honokowai, Kihei, Lahaina and Wailuku. Now, the organization provides a week’s supply of free groceries to an average of 700 people weekly. Tents and tables are set up at each distribution location.

Solution Three: Below are distribution locations and times that are currently operating.

  • Thursdays: Lahaina from 10:30 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. at Piilani Senior Housing, 1028 Wainee St.
  • Kahana from 2:30 p.m. – 4 p.m. at Lahaina Christian Fellowship, 4275 Hine Way
  • Saturdays: Wailuku 9:30 a.m. to noon on the corner of Church St. and Vineyard St.
  • Haiku 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. at St. Rita’s Church 655 Haiku Rd.
  • Kihei 10:30 a.m. to noon at Hope Chapel, 300 E. Welakahao Road

For more information visit


Marlene Rice, Development Director for Maui Food Bank encourages Maui residents to get involved with The Maui Food Bank’s Holiday Food Drive.

“Our Holiday Food Drive season has started and we encourage the residents of Maui do food drives at their businesses, schools, places of worship, service clubs, community, etc. ‘Hunger never takes a holiday’ is our theme during this season.  It is so important that every family has food on their tables each day of the week, but we also work towards making sure that people living in poverty and low income families are also provided with a holiday meal over Thanksgiving and Christmas.  The food drives really help to make this happen.”

Use your recycling to help the hungry. Aloha Recycling will take redeemable cans, glass and plastic and donate all proceeds to Feed My Sheep. Bring recycling to Aloha Recycling at 75 Amala Pl. across from Cash & Carry.

Foodland, Sack N Save and Foodland Farms are participating with Feed My Sheep this year in the Give Aloha fundraiser. Those who wish to donate can visit one of these grocery stores. Western Union Foundation will match any donations up to $325,000 from all organizations involved.

Maui Food Bank is always accepting donations of money or food to assist Maui’s hungry. Currently, the top seven needed items of the Maui Food Bank are financial contributions, canned meat and tuna, canned fruits and vegetables, canned meals and soups with protein, cereal, rice, and pasta.

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