Free grab-and-go meals for keiki expands to Molokai

A partnership of non-profit and government organizations that provides free, healthy grab-and-go meals to keiki has expanded to Molokai, with the new addition of Kualapuʻu Elementary PCS to Hawaiʻi’s community summer food sites.

Before the pandemic, it was projected that about 20 summer food sponsoring organizations would serve about 583,000 total meals this summer. Instead, this community partnership is now on track to serve 1.5 million meals in 2020. Despite the loss of some regular sponsors, the remaining ones have stepped up their capacity, and three new sponsors have come on board.

In addition to Kualapuʻu Elementary, Hookakoo Schools has also added Kamaile Academy PCS in Waiʻanae as a summer food site, bringing the total number of community keiki feeding sites to 30 this year.

On a typical school day, nearly 65,000 economically disadvantaged Hawaii students benefit from free or reduced-price school meals. 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). All SFSP meals are prepared according to USDA safety and nutrition standards.

These keiki free meal sites serve as a complement the grab-and-go meal sites that the Department of Education is operating at over 50 public schools this summer, out of 256 across the state, through July 17.

The SFSP sponsors, which include Waiʻanae Coast Comprehensive Health Center, Lanakila Pacific, Kamaʻaina Kids, and YMCA of Honolulu are partnering with Aloha Harvest, Kapiʻolani Community College, Hawaiʻi Appleseed, and Hawaiʻi Child Nutrition Programs to get the meals prepared and delivered.

With the addition of the Molokai site, the following 30 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.