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Kaukau 4 Keiki: Filling the Summer Hunger Gap

Kaukau 4 Keiki (K4K), a Summer Food Service Program, is back for its sophomore season!

K4K provides age-appropriate and locally-sourced meal kits to our keiki who won’t receive meals at school during summer. Thousands of meal kits will be distributed weekly with 7-days’ worth of shelf-stable foods and fresh produce, along with menu cards for keiki-appropriate breakfasts and lunches. Meal kit items and keiki menus meet the requirements of the US Department of Agriculture Food & Nutrition Services Branch (USDA – FNS) and Hawaiʻi Department of Education’s Hawaiʻi Child Nutrition Program (HIDOE – HCNP). 

A key focus of K4K is using local produce from local farmers, food hubs, and vendors. Based on 2021 outcomes, this emphasis resulted in an amazing $1.2 million investment back into Hawai‘i’s economy, specifically to these food providers. With the growth of the 2023 K4K program, we are already seeing this positive impact on the ground. 

Since launching in 2021, the effort has become a massive coordinated partnership. The Hawaiʻi Farm to School Hui (HI F2S Hui), a program of HIPHI, will lend programmatic support to continue the work along with HIDOE – HCNP, USDA – FNS, and a network of supporting organizations. Local sponsors and community groups will come together to assemble, store and transport the meal kits to specific site locations statewide. 

One significant change for 2023 is distribution sites were selected based on the USDA rural designation through the National Center for Education Statistics. Statewide, there will be a total of 57 distribution sites, with 36 on Hawaiʻi island, 14 on Oʻahu, and seven on Kauaʻi (with the additional option of home delivery).

Registration for Oʻahu, Hawaiʻi, and Kauaʻi islands opened in early June and filled up quickly due to the high need for meal support this summer. Families are still encouraged to register via their island’s waitlists, which can be accessed online at kaukau4keiki.org. Eligibility is based on keiki ages 18 or under (or up to 22 years old with a disability and enrollment in public school). Additional eligibility depends on zip code. 

The Hawaiʻi F2S Hui is excited to be part of the K4K ʻohana and lend support to the island network of sponsors, volunteers, public administrators, private funders, and community partners to ensure the hunger gap is filled this summer. A huge mahalo to primary sponsors and island administrators Kahumana Food Hub and Organic Farms (Oʻahu), Mālama Kauaʻi (Kauaʻi), and Vibrant Hawaiʻi (Hawaiʻi).  

For more details about the K4K, enrollment, and access information, please reach out to Jessica Taiatini at jessicataiatini@hiphi.org.

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