The COVID-19 pandemic is a health and humanitarian crisis worldwide and has had detrimental impacts locally in Hawai‘i, causing thousands of residents to become food insecure. Many residents of Hawai‘i were already suffering from hunger and malnutrition prior to the pandemic, especially among our most vulnerable populations. For our seniors or kūpuna, their food insecurity was further heightened as many congregate meal sites ceased operations, family support was impacted by job losses, and many volunteers who delivered meals were seniors themselves and could no longer assist.
The Kūpuna Food Security Coalition (KFSC) was created in response to the COVID-19 crisis to help those in desperate need of food, services and resources. This broad network of passionate individuals, non-profit organizations, service providers, businesses, funders, and state and local agencies came together rapidly to coordinate efforts to provide a food safety net for people. Through this innovative partnership, services to provide prepared meals, food boxes, as well as connections to health and social services for Oahu’s kūpuna were immediately mobilized. The KFSC have provided over 500,000 meals since the end of March, and continues to serve over 5,000 seniors each week, connecting vulnerable kūpuna with long term, sustainable supports including SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) and EBT (federal Electronic Benefits Transfer).
The KFSC strives to support impactful and sustainable solutions that provide food and meals to our kūpuna who need it most. The KFSC meets bi-weekly and continues to recruit organizations and potential partners to the coalition, and those interested in working together with aloha in these times of great need. Interested organizations should contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit hiphi.org/kupuna.