Maui News

Kaiser Permanente Hawaiʻi awards $122,000 to organizations providing food assistance

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Hui No Ke Ola Pono received a $50,000 grant to support outreach events for health wellness and its Feed and Be Fed program. Photo Courtesy: Hui No Ke Ola Pono

Kaiser Permanente Hawaiʻi awarded grants totaling $122,100 to three vital community organizations that provide food assistance for the state’s most vulnerable populations.

The grants:

  • Hui No Ke Ola Pono, Inc., $50,000: Supports its Hanai aku, Hanai mai (Feed and Be Fed) program for Native Hawaiians. The program also aims to connect Native Hawaiian communities on Maui to medical and social health services. Between January and June 2022, the organization will distribute 150 boxes of fresh produce monthly to areas not readily served by the Maui Food Bank. It will host community outreach events to educate the public on health topics such as exercise, stress management and diabetes management. The program targets homesteads in Wailuku, Waiohuli and Leialii, as well as the rural areas of Kahakuloa Village, Keanaʻe, Kaupo and Hana. Hui No Ke Ola Pono expects to serve 3,600 people through this program.
  • Helping Hands Hawaiʻi, $50,000: Supports its Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) outreach, which helps at-risk, underserved and low-income individuals and households access public food assistance programs. Helping Hands Hawaiʻi helps households fill out, submit and follow up on applications; provides interpretive assistance; helps recipients maintain benefits; and conducts outreach activities designed to ensure proper use of SNAP benefits. The organization aims to reach 150 potential applicants during the grant period.
  • Hawaii Foodbank,$22,100: Support a new Farm-to-Foodbank program. Through this program, food banks are able to be a customer of last resort for farmers who have crops to harvest, but no buyers. The grant will enable the food bank to pay for the labor, processing and packaging costs incurred as the farmer brings the crop to harvest. The farmers then donate the crop to the food bank and are able to obtain a tax incentive for the donation.  Finally, the food bank will distribute the farm-direct produce to families in the community. More than 10,000 people on Oʻahu, Kauaʻi, and Hawaiʻi island will benefit from the produce.

“A nutritious, balanced diet is a cornerstone of health, so it’s critically important at Kaiser Permanente that we help our communities get better access to healthy, affordable foods,” said John Yang, MD, President and Medical Director, Hawai/i Permanente Medical Group. “Research shows that people without consistent access to sufficient food spend about 45% more on medical care each year than those in food-secure households. We’re proud to support Hui No Ke Ola Pono, Helping Hands Hawaiʻi and Hawaiʻi Foodbank in their collective mission to nourish underserved communities and help Hawaiʻi thrive.” 

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