Participants in the 2019 Maui Heart Walk are encouraged to not only raise funds for the American Heart Association, but to also bring a healthy food donation to the event to benefit clients of the Maui Foodbank.
The healthy food drive is part of the AHA’s Kōkua The Need campaign, reflecting its Board of Director’s commitment to improve healthy eating throughout Hawaiʻi.
“By incorporating the healthy food drive into this year’s Heart Walk we are demonstrating just one of the ways that funds raised to benefit the AHA are being invested into improving our community’s health,” said Mei Lee Dowling, project manager at Dowling Company, Inc., and the 2019 Maui Heart Walk co-chair.
The AHA’s Kōkua The Need campaign was developed through an AHA collaborative effort with University of Hawaiʻi nutrition students and the Hawaiʻi Foodbank on Oʻahu. AHA volunteers then helped to coordinate a healthy food drive, using materials developed by the students and approved by the AHA’s national Science Department, in downtown Honolulu office buildings.
That initial food drive resulted in almost one ton of healthier food items being donated, and the feedback from Foodbank clients was very positive. Now the AHA is expanding the Kōkua The Need campaign statewide to include it into its Heart Walk events.
“All of Hawaiʻi’s foodbanks do a wonderful job providing food to those in need,” added Dowling. “However, sometimes the food being provided doesn’t also address the nutrition disparities that exist in our disparately-affected populations. By improving the nutritional quality of the donations made to our foodbanks we can not only help to feed those populations, but also help to improve their health. We’re excited to help support that effort at this year’s Heart Walk.”
The Maui Heart Walk will take place on April 20 at Keōpūolani Regional Park in Kahului, at 7 a.m. A health fair & entertainment will run from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. Free “hands-only” CPR lessons, and a keiki fun fair will also be offered. The event is designed to bring families and friends together to learn, share and practice lifestyle habits that will lead to healthier, longer lives free of heart disease and stroke. Participants are encouraged to raise money to support the AHA’s work to end heart disease and stroke and improve Hawaiʻi island resident’s health.
“I don’t think that there is anyone who has not been touched by heart disease. I have,” said Leslie Ann Yokouchi, Maui Heart Walk co-chair, and principal broker, owner of Better Homes and Garden Realty. “Most personally, my Dad suffered from this ugly disease, so I am here to do my small part to help fight it. I am honored to be part of the American Heart Association which has accomplished so much in bringing awareness, education and research to the forefront of the topic of heart health. I hope that all of Maui will join Mei Lee and me in this battle.”
On-line registration can be done by going to www.MauiHeartWalk.org, or by calling Maui Heart Walk Director Jenny Miller at 1-808-426-0124 for information.