Hawaii Foodbank to purchase $200,000 worth of local ag products
Hawaii Foodbank plans to purchase $200,000 worth of local agricultural products in an effort to feed those in need while supporting Hawaii food producers.
In a partnership with Hawaii Farm Bureau, Hawaii Foodbank will utilize the goods that it purchases from local farmers and ranchers for its food assistance programs.
“Hawaii Foodbank faces an unprecedented challenge of providing food for people affected by the COVID-19 pandemic while continuing to meet the nutritional needs of one in eight Hawaii residents already struggling with hunger,” said Hawaii Foodbank President and CEO Ron Mizutani in a statement. “This partnership with Hawaii Farm Bureau is a win-win for everyone, as it will keep Hawaii’s farmers farming while also providing nutritional food to those who need it most.”
Products purchased through the partnership will go toward the food bank’s Ohana Produce Plus Program — which provides fresh produce to houseless and low-income individuals and those with disabilities — as well as the Senior Food Box Program, which gives boxes filled with a range of supplemental foods to low-income seniors.
“We are grateful to the Hawaii Foodbank in partnering with us on this latest initiative to assist the community during these challenging economic times,” stated Hawaii Farm Bureau Executive Director Brian Miyamoto. “Thanks to various grants and other funding, these food purchases by Hawaii Foodbank will provide much needed income to farmers and ranchers and allow them to continue their operations. In turn, this partnership ensures these locally-grown food products are distributed to those most in need.”
The initiative is supported by groups including Harold K.L. Castle Foundation, Hawaii Community Foundation, Ulupono Initiative, and the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation.
In the statement, Mizutani said that need for the Foodbank’s services has “increased substantially” as a result of the layoffs and furloughs that have taken place in recent weeks amid COVID-19. The nonprofit has experienced a 56% increase in demand for its services in recent weeks — a figure that it expects will continue to rise.
“We want to get our communities past this current public health crisis. But we are also looking at what happens after,” he said. “We want to positively contribute to the long-term sustainability of our entire Hawaii home.”