Food banks receive a wealth of unhealthy food donations: processed food, heavily-salted canned vegetables and beans, and other items with shockingly long shelf lives. While well intentioned, these foods often go to populations that are at a higher risk of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Late last year, Maui Food Bank (MFB) launched the Give Healthy Food Drive in November of 2018 to address the staggering imbalance between unhealthy and healthy food options it was receiving. The campaign, which initially encouraged healthy food donations during the holidays, hopes to change the public’s thinking about the kinds of food that are donated to food banks throughout the year.
It all began in January of 2018. MFB sat down with HIPHI’s Healthy Eating + Active Living (HEAL) county coalition to start laying out what a campaign would look like. The partners were thrilled to be joined by Blue Zones Project (BZP) this last holiday season who came to the table with $1,000 of healthy food donations. The food was distributed into the community at the Christ of King Church in Kahului, a distribution site for MFB. The three partners also crafted a promotional video for the campaign on the importance of equity, dignity, and access to healthy food.
In January 2019, the partners again came together to plan a Give Healthy community advocacy campaign aimed at keeping the momentum going. The plan includes press releases, radio ads, social media boosts, and much more to get the message out into the community.
The HEAL Coalition will keep track of the outcomes and work with MFB to track how much healthy food is donated this year and how much is distributed into the community. We hope to engage and encourage the community of Central Maui and the entire county of Maui to Give Healthy this year and help us create another access point for healthy food. Let’s make the healthy choice the easy choice for those in need.
For more information on the HEAL Coalition for Maui, Molokai, and Lānaʻi, please contact the HEAL Community Coordinator Lauren Loor at email@example.com.