Lt. Gov. Luke launches annual State Employees’ Food Drive
The 24th Annual State Employees’ Food Drive launched Friday evening at a Rainbow Warriors baseball game led by Lt. Governor Sylvia Luke in partnership with the Hawaiʻi Foodbank, University of Hawaiʻi, UH Athletics, and the Rainbow Warriors Baseball Team.
The food drive, co-chaired by Lt. Governor Sylvia Luke and Second Gentleman, Michael Luke, will run from March 10 to May 19 accepting monetary and food donations to reduce food insecurity across Hawaiʻi.
The State Employees’ Food Drive was first launched in 1999 and is held annually for state employees to support eliminating food insecurity in Hawaiʻi’s communities. Throughout over two decades of championing the annual food drive, state employees have contributed over $3 million and 1.7 million pounds of food to the Hawai‘i Foodbank.
The goal for this year’s food drive is to raise $150,000 and 70,000 pounds of food.
Lt. Governor Luke is honored to lead this year’s food drive and support the partnership between state employees and the Hawaiʻi Foodbank. “As the Foodbank’s largest coalition, state employees have a tremendous opportunity to raise funds and reach out to their networks so we can feed Hawaiʻi’s families. Food insecurity is a public health issue, and it will take all of us working together to make an impact for our communities,” said Luke.
This year approximately 1 in 6 Hawaiʻi residents will experience food insecurity, including 1 in 4 children. While this issue impacts people of all ages, keiki are most affected with Hawai‘i currently holding the second highest rate of child food insecurity throughout the nation.
“It is more critical than ever; there is a hunger cliff coming. The last portion of the emergency [Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program] benefit is being mailed out next week, but the need has not gone down. We are still serving 1 in 6 people who are facing hunger, food insecurity. We just need to stand in the gap,” said Laura Kay Rand, Vice President & Chief Impact Officer of the Hawai‘i Foodbank, which is Hawai‘i’s leading hunger-relief organization.
As one of the state’s largest entities, the University of Hawaiʻi is a significant contributor to the food drive, raising $70,000 in 2022. UH President David Lassner is a strong proponent of the food drive and sees the impacts of food insecurity in the UH community.
“We administered a national survey to our students across all ten campuses across the islands and we found some 38% of our students experienced food insecurity in the last 30 days, and that’s why we’re so proud to participate in the Food Drive each and every year. I’m really happy that we could kick-off the Drive here today at Rainbow Warrior Baseball … the University of Hawaiʻi is consistently one of the strongest contributors to the State’s Food Drive each and every year. This is a great way to get our students and our fans in understanding the importance of food security for everyone in Hawaiʻi,” said Lassner in a news release.
UH Athletics and the Rainbow Warriors Baseball Team will continue to support the food drive as partners. Head Baseball Coach Rich Hill said, “To have an opportunity to represent Hawaiʻi Foodbank and this great cause, it gives me chicken skin; and that’s what it’s really about, in higher education, to make an impact on these young people. And we couldn’t be prouder to host this event tonight.”
Anyone can support the Hawaiʻi Foodbank and the State Employees’ Food Drive. To make a contribution or learn more, visit hawaiifoodbank.org/state.