Maui Farmer Assistance and Food Distribution Program Gets 5 Week Extension

May 21, 2020, 9:22 AM HST · Updated May 21, 9:30 AM
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Food distribution via Maui Food Bank. PC: Courtesy County of Maui.

Mayor Michael Victorino announced a five-week extension of a farmer assistance and food distribution program to help provide food to community organizations that provide food to families and individuals in need.

The County of Maui is committing $100,000 to the Maui Farm Bureau and $50,000 to the Hawaiʻi Farmers Union United. Purchased food will go to the community organizations for distribution.

From the CARES Act, Mayor Victorino said he would commit that every dollar that comes in as a donation, the County will put two dollars in as an added contribution.  “So, If you can raise $100,000, we’ll add another $200,000.  If you can raise $200,000, we’ll add another $400,000.  We have some CARES money that is going to be helping you–(ie.) the Salvation Army, Feed My Sheep–and I’d like to challenge the community in that respect.”

“I want to make that challenge to the people of Maui County–for every dollar that you put in, we’ll match it with two (dollars),” up to $500,000, said Mayor Victorino.

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Since the program began in early April, the Maui County Farm Bureau has used $20,000 weekly to purchase food from local farms for food distribution sites around the county.

The Hawaiʻi Farmers Union United has used $10,000 to set up and run online/pick-up food hubs. Initial funding provided by the County of Maui went toward the purchase of an online ordering software package.

“I want to thank everyone who has stepped up to make our food distribution program such a great success,” Mayor Victorino said. “It’s been humbling and encouraging to see our community come together in a time of such great need.”

Among the organizations that have directly benefited from the funding is Feed My Sheep.

“It’s a life-saver,” said Joyce Kawakami, founder of Feed My Sheep. “We now have quality food to get to people in need, and the need is immense.”

Feed My Sheep served 800 individuals in February, before the coronavirus hit the United States, and the number of individuals served jumped to 2,600 in April.

“Feed My Sheep, Maui Food Bank and countless other organizations continue to put food in the hands of families impacted by the coronavirus pandemic,” Mayor Michael Victorino said. “This program will help support their ongoing efforts and I want to thank everyone who has made our County food distributions such a great success.”

Since late March, more than 6,000 bags of food have been distributed to families in need at over a dozen food distribution events in Central, South and West Maui, Upcountry, Pāʻia-Haʻikū, Hāna, Molokaʻi and Lānaʻi.

Maui Food Bank Executive Director Rich Yust said: “We appreciate our partnership with Maui County to purchase the food necessary to meet our community’s great need.”

The Maui Food Bank offers the following opportunities:

If you’re in need of food: https://mauifoodbank.org/food-distribution-sites/
If you would like to donate: https://mauifoodbank.org/donate/
If you’re interested in volunteering: https://mauifoodbank.org/volunteer-opportunities/

 

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