Feeding Hawaii Together is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization based out of Honolulu. Unlike your typical food distribution program, Feeding Hawaii Together employs a “grocery-store style” setup which enables qualifying individuals to “shop” from a wide assortment of perishable and non-perishable foods directly from refrigerators and shelves. For our patrons, Feeding Hawaii Together’s program is a far cry from the anonymous brown paper bag they might be accustomed to receiving from other food distribution centers.
By providing food in this manner, our clients are able to:
- Retain Their Dignity
- Build Confidence
- Become More Self-Sufficient
- Eat Healthier, More Balanced Meals
The best part is, unlike some food distribution services, the food here is free. Individuals can shop once a week and take home as much food as they can carry. Feeding Hawaii Together is the only place that offers this kind of service in Hawaii, and perhaps even the nation.
Further, we are able to help reduce food waste because our clients only take the items they want.
Hawaii has the highest cost of living in the country. Even with the 10th highest median income in the country, Hawaii has the lowest wages in the country when adjusted for the amount of money it takes for a family to get by.
Hawaii has the 6th highest rate of poverty in the country under the Supplemental Poverty Measure, which, unlike the official poverty measure, takes into account both the cost of living and available government assistance. Using this more accurate measure, Hawaii actually has a higher rate of poverty than Mississippi.
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps) and school breakfast participation rates are among the lowest in the country. At the same time, one in eight residents (per USDA statistics) faces food insecurity, and families must make difficult trade-offs to balance their budgets.
Excerpts from State of Poverty in Hawaii, Hawaii Appleseed Center for Law and Justice, 2016
The statistics that Hawaii Food Bank collects suggests that roughly 1/2 of Hawaii’s food bank and pantry clients had to choose whether to purchase food or pay critical bills such as rent or utilities. And that 1/3 of these people had to make such choices every month.
Hunger in Hawaii Statistics, Food Bank of Hawaii (website), 2017