Partners with kupuna holding written sign saying "your compassion & empathy changed all our lives"

The Kūpuna Food Security Coalition (KFSC) has released an After Action Report detailing how a cross-sectoral partnership of over 40 organizations came together to meet the hunger needs of Oʻahu kūpuna. Originally formed as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the KFSC employed data-informed actions to map community need and mobilize food and meal resources efficiently while acting as an incubator for innovative food security models and establishing a community of practice among stakeholders.

“We applaud the accomplishments of the Coalition in making access to food for our kūpuna a priority during these times of need”, said Honolulu Mayor, Rick Blangiardi and added, “We are proud to have Derrick Ariyoshi, administrator of our Elderly Affairs Division, and the Coalition working collectively to advance the impactful work”. 

The KFSC After Action Report highlights the impact made on Oʻahu kūpuna including:

  • Over 1.2 million meals distributed;
  • Over 30,000 health and wellness checks conducted;
  • Over 4,800 older adults linked to long-term, sustainable food assistance programs including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP);
  • Up to 8,262 unique kūpuna served each week.

While the impact made is undeniable, there is still much work to be done. “When a volunteer delivered a hot meal to Mrs. Chun* and learned it was her first and only meal of the day, it was both disheartening and rewarding,” said Melissa Ah Ho-Mauga, Vice President of Client Services at St. Francis Healthcare System. “It is hard to believe many Hawaiʻi seniors like Mrs. Chun go without food, but the encounter served as a stark reminder that food insecurity is a real issue in our islands.”

The KFSC continues to work toward a more sustainable food system that best serves kūpuna, one that is integrated with wraparound health and social services for holistic support, and contributes to a more resilient community with the capacity to prepare for, respond to, and recover from emergency situations in the future. Critical support for the KFSC is provided by the Hawaiʻi Public Health Institute, providing the backbone infrastructure to maximize impact of finite resources, minimize duplication and oversaturation in any one community, and ensure food security initiatives are synergistically and equitably deployed as the coalition expands from Oʻahu to statewide.

The formation of the KFSC was made possible by CARES Act funding administered through the Department of Community Services, City and County of Honolulu, as well as the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation and nearly 400 individual donors who called in during a telethon event in May 2021 hosted by KHON2 News.

The report and a list of partner organizations can be found at hiphi.org/kupuna.

For more information, email kupunacoalition@hiphi.org.

*Name has been changed for privacy.