Community sites expand free meals for keiki through the summer

A partnership of nonprofit and government organizations that worked together to provide free grab-and-go meals to keiki during the unexpected pandemic-related school closures has expanded its reach this summer. With several new sponsors and sites now on board, the community sites are now serving well over 5,500 children and youth per day. These healthy meals are prepared according to U.S. Department of Agriculture standards.

Four new sponsors—Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center, Lanakila Pacific, Alternative Structures International and Hawaii Literacy—have opened nine new summer food sites in Waiʻanae, Nānākuli, ʻEwa Beach, Kailua and Honolulu. That brings the total number of community keiki feeding sites to 29 this summer.

On a typical school day, nearly 65,000 economically disadvantaged Hawaiʻi students benefit from free or reduced-price school breakfast and lunch. For many, these are the only nutritious meals that they eat regularly. For their families, these meals help relieve financial stress by reducing their food budgets.

During the summer, when students are not able to eat free or reduced-price meals at school, community partners work together to provide food to children and youth in low-income areas via the federal Summer Food Service Program (SFSP).

The new sponsors join Kamaʻaina Kids, YMCA of Honolulu, Parents And Children Together, Palama Settlement and Windward Nazarene Academy in providing free meals for children and youth in low-income areas on Oʻahu and Maui. The sites are partnering with Aloha Harvest, Kapiʻolani Community College, Hawaiʻi Appleseed and Hawaiʻi Child Nutrition Programs to get the meals prepared and delivered.

These sites serve as a complement the grab-and-go meal sites that the Department of Education (DOE) is operating at over 50 public schools this summer, out of 256 across the state.

The following 29 community summer food sites will provide free healthy grab-and-go meals to children and youth up to age 18 on Monday to Friday through July 31, unless otherwise indicated. These sites can also be found on the Hawaii Children’s Action Network’s COVID-19 resources map at covid19.hawaii-can.org.

Community