REPORT – Food Insecurity in Hawaii Using a Population-Based Sample: A Data Brief

The University of Hawaiʻi Office of Public Health Studies completed an evaluation of data from the Hawaiʻi Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) to provide estimates of food insecurity in Hawaiʻi.

The report, “Food Insecurity in Hawaiʻi Using a Population-Based Sample: A Data Brief” reveals that:

  • About one in five people living in Hawaiʻi in 2018 reported that the food they bought did not last and they did not have money to get more. In the study, these individuals were categorized as food insecure.
  • Food insecurity was significantly higher in Hawaiʻi County compared to other locations. This was especially true for those with less than a high school education, those not working, and single/unmarried people. In Hawaiʻi County, over 50% of those falling into these three categories were food insecure.
  • A high proportion of Native Hawaiians (27 %) and a very high proportion of Filipions (43%) and Other Pacific Islanders (44%) were food insecure compared to the general population of the state (22%)
Statistically significant differences existed at the state level by race and ethnicity, with 44% of other Pacific Islanders, 43% of Filipinos, and 27% of Native Hawaiians reporting food insecurity (< .001).

Read the complete Food Insecurity Data Brief for data and analysis.

Early Closures for West Hawaii State Parks on 4th of July

Several West Hawai’i state parks will experience early closures on Independence Day. The DLNR Division of State Parks will close the following parks at 5 p.m. on Saturday, July 4:

PC: DLNR

Kekaha Kai State Park, the Manini’owali (Kua Bay) section. The Mahai’ula section will be closed that day.

Hapuna Beach State Recreation Area, including the Waialea Bay section.

Lapakahi State Park.

Kiholo State Park Reserve.

Current park hours will resume on Sunday.

The early closure of these facilities is to discourage the use of fireworks, which are prohibited in state parks, and to protect people and the natural resources of the parks.

Big Island Chocolate Festival Cancelled for 2020, Sets Date for 2021

Due to limitations on the size of groups during COVID-19, the Big Island Chocolate Festival is cancelled for 2020. The next festival will be April 30-May 1, 2021 at the Westin Hapuna Beach Resort.   

Presented by the Kona Cacao Association (KCA), festival proceeds annually benefit a variety of local non-profits. The selected 2020 beneficiaries will be asked to participate for 2021. They include the culinary programs at Hawaii Community College Palamanui, Hawai‘i Island High Schools and Maui Community College, plus Hawaii Institute of Pacific Agriculture, Friends of the NELHA, Big Island Music & Arts Academy and Kona Dance & Performing Arts. Over the last eight years, the festival has awarded over $140,000 to local beneficiaries. 

VIP gala tickets are on sale for $129 and general admission is $89. Also available are three different overnight room packages, including a Two-Night Chocolate Infusion Weekender. All room packages include a pair of tickets to the Saturday evening gala. Details: https://bigislandchocolatefestival.com/tickets/.

 Kona Cacao Association: The mission and goal of KCA is to promote the cacao industry on the Big Island of Hawai‘i by presenting the Big Island Chocolate Festival as an educational and outreach opportunity for local cacao farmers, the hospitality industry and cacao enthusiasts. Visit http://konacacaoassociation.com.

Free Drive-Thru Community Meal Presented by Ippy’s Hawaiian Barbecue

La‘i ‘Ōpua 2020 will be giving out free drive-thru meals at the La‘i ‘Ōpua Community Center this Thursday, June 25, 2020 at 5 p.m.

The La‘i ‘Ōpua Community Center is located at 74-5210 Keanalehu Drive in Kona.

Please practice social distancing and don’t exit your vehicle. Volunteers will bring the food to your car.

One meal per person that is present in the car, no mass pick-ups. Based on availability and supply.

Kuhio Grille Moving Locations

The well known restaurant Kuhio Grille in Hilo is moving to a new location on Pauahi Street in Hilo (Location where Liko Lehua was at… unconfirmed reports state that Liko Lehua will return to it’s original Kaumana Street location).

The restaurant posted the following on Facebook:

Mahalo to everyone that has supported us for the last 25 years! It’s time to say goodbye to our first home, and say hello to our new home at 80 Pauahi street.

Sunday June 14th will be our last day of service here, and it will take a few weeks to settle in to our new place. We will see you soon, be safe and healthy! 

2020 Census Operations Restarting in Hawaii

Hawaii’s Local Census Office has reopened, and field operations have resumed.

Due to COVID-19, the 2020 Census team adapted and delayed operations for the safety of the public and Census Bureau employees. The Census Bureau has been consulting with federal, state and local health officials and have resumed field operations under a phased approach. The Census Bureau will always incorporate the most current guidance from authorities to ensure the health and safety of staff and the public. 

Which Operations are Resuming Now?

Starting June 1, the Hawaii Census team has resumed Update Leave operations. Update Leave involves delivering Census invitations to households in rural areas which do not have city-style addresses, areas that do not receive mail to their home address, and areas that have high concentrations of seasonally vacant housing. 

Census Bureau staff are also resuming fingerprinting protocols for new hires.

What to Expect

  • Census packets delivered to your home address containing your Census ID.
  • Census field staff canvassing areas for places people might be living and dropping off a census invitation and paper questionnaire. 
  • No in-person interactions; the Update Leave operations are strictly no-contact.

What to Not Expect

  • At this time, you should not expect census takers visiting your homes to help you complete the 2020 Census. 

If you have not done so already, you can respond online at my2020census.gov or by calling 1-844-330-2020.

For more information on Hawaii’s response rates, visit our 2020 Census Response Rate Tracker

Learn more at http://census.hawaii.gov/census_2020/.

USDA Approves New Program to Help Hawaii Families, Feed More Than 93,000 Children Eligible For Free, Reduced School Meals

Today, U.S. Senator Brian Schatz announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) approved Hawai‘i’s request to operate the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) program, ensuring that children in the state can continue to have access to nutritious food during the COVID-19 crisis. Authorized under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, the P-EBT program will provide approximately $16.8 million to 24,025 Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) households and $12.5 million to 20,147 non-SNAP households with children eligible for free and reduced price school meals.

“With thousands unemployed and schools closed, many Hawai‘i families are struggling to put food on the table, especially those in low income or underserved communities,” said Sen. Schatz, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. “This new program will help make sure that children who rely on school food programs are still getting the meals they need at home during the pandemic.”

The coronavirus pandemic has forced all K-12 schools in Hawai‘i to close for the remainder of the academic year. While this is necessary to keep families safe, many children are now at great risk of food insecurity. In Hawai‘i, approximately 51% of schoolchildren – more than 93,300 – are eligible for free or reduced priced meals.

Under the P-EBT program, eligible households will receive an EBT card with the value of free school breakfast and lunch for school closures extending from March 16, 2020 through May 28, 2020, a total of 54 days. The families can use the EBT cards to purchase food. This program does not affect eligibility for or the operation of other nutrition programs that children and families may be participating in.

DOH Issues Guidance to Restaurants, Retail Food Markets & Manufacturers

After being prohibited from offering dine-in service for the past two months, Hawai‘i restaurants will now gradually begin to reopen their doors to customers, aligning with the state’s Roadmap to Recovery and Resilience. To further guide the food service industry, the Hawai‘i Department of Health (DOH) has developed detailed guidance on safe practices for reopening.

The DOH issued recommendations for Hawai‘i’s food sector today to reduce the risk of exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19 to employees and customers. The guidance aligns with all existing food safety regulations and supports ongoing compliance with social distancing requirements. The guidance also aligns with Gov. David Ige’s eighth supplementary proclamation in response to the current emergency issued May 18, which focuses on the state’s multi-phased roadmap to recovery and resilience.

“As we move from reopening to recovery, safe practices in the food service industry play a vital role in the reopening and rebuilding of our local economy, “said Health Director Bruce Anderson. “We are also asking customers to do their part by following the guidance to support our restaurants and help ensure they can continue to stay open.”

During this initial recovery stage, we’re urging restaurants to act with care and continue to meticulously follow safe practices,” said Keith Kawaoka, deputy director of environmental health, who oversees the area of food safety. “The Department of Health encourages food operators to promote good hygiene practices by ensuring adequate supplies of soap, individual disposable towels, and hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol for employees and customers. Any employee who exhibits signs of illness should not be allowed to report to work.” 

At a minimum, customers are required to wear a cloth face covering when moving through a food establishment or while waiting for a pick-up order, and their masks may be removed only while eating.

In addition, the Department of Health issued the following additional stipulations for dine-in service:

  • No more than 50% or half of the total seating capacity should be available for dining-in use.
  • Dining tables at least six feet apart for indoors and outdoors. (Outdoor seating does not count toward the total seating capacity.)
  • Restaurants are encouraged to require reservations for dine-in service for greater control of customer volume. 
  • Consider allowing customers to pre-order while making reservations to decrease the length of time they are in the establishment.
  • Maximum of six customers, not living in the same household, per group per table, with a maximum of 10 customers, living in the same household, per group per table.
  • No self-service salad bar or buffet.
  • Restaurants should also post signage at the entrance that states that no one with a fever or symptoms of COVID-19 will be permitted in the restaurant.

Kawaoka said that as the state moves toward the next phase of recovery, the health department plans to increase the recommended dining capacity for restaurants to 75% of total seating capacity while still keeping dining tables at least six feet apart.

The Department of Health also issued guidance for retail food markets, limiting the number of people in a facility up to 50% of fire code occupancy and maintaining a minimum of six feet between individuals. In the next phase, the recommended number of people in a retail food market increases to up to 75% of fire code occupancy, while continuing to maintain a minimum of six feet between individuals.

Restaurants offering dine-in service, retail food markets, and food processors and manufacturers are urged to identify a workplace coordinator to be responsible for COVID-19 assessment and control planning, which includes the use of face masks by employees, screening of workers, frequent handwashing, cleaning and disinfection procedures, and display of clear signage to remind employees and customers to adhere to all safety policies in place.

The health department will continuously monitor and evaluate conditions, and determine whether to expand reopening guidance or return to restrictions based on disease activity and the preparedness of our response system to manage any resurgence of positive cases.

For a complete list of requirements for restaurants, retail food markets and food processors and manufacturers in the State Roadmap to Recovery and Resilience: Guidance for Reopening the Food Service Sector (PDF), DOH Food Safety Branch: health.hawaii.gov/san/, and DOH Food and Drug Branch: health.hawaii.gov/food-drug.

Mayor Provides Requirements for Oahu Restaurants to Re-Open

Mayor Kirk Caldwell announced that starting Friday, June 5, in-person table service dining in restaurants in the City and County of Honolulu will be allowed following the City’s guidelines approved by Governor David Ige. 

Loco Moco’s are a popular restaurant item in Hawaii.

Bars and nightclubs remain closed at this time and no self-service buffets or drink stations will be allowed.

Restaurants on O‘ahu will be allowed to reopen beginning on June 5 under the following requirements, conditions, and privileges:

• Continued compliance with all State of Hawai‘i and City regulatory and legal standards for operating a food services business

• Compliance with Social Distancing Requirements (as modified in Section 12 of the Mayor’s Emergency Order)

• Dining groups must be limited to a maximum of ten individuals per group (regardless of household membership)

• Cleaning and disinfecting must be conducted in compliance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance

• Restaurant employees must wear face coverings during their shift – cooks and kitchen staff that do not interact with the public are encouraged but not required to wear face coverings

• Hourly touch-point sanitization (workstations, equipment, screens, doorknobs, restrooms, etc.) is required

• Frequent hand washing/sanitizing by employees is required

The reopening of restaurants guidelines also include a pilot sidewalk/outdoor dining opportunity at certain restaurants that abut City properties, including certain sidewalks. Please see the guidelines for further information. The City will roll out its sidewalk/outdoor dining application and temporary permit form shortly for interested restaurants that wish to take advantage of this unique opportunity. 

The full list of guidelines can be found in an amended Exhibit A of the Mayor’s Ho‘oulu i Honolulu 2.0 Order (Restore Honolulu 2.0 Order).

HVNP Increases Community Access to Mauna Loa Road & Other Sites

Following guidance from the White House, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and state and local public health authorities, Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park is increasing community access. The National Park Service (NPS) is working servicewide with federal, state, and local public health authorities to closely monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and using a phased approach to increase access on a park-by-park basis.

On Wednesday, May 20, 2020, Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park reopened access to:  

• Mauna Loa Road to Kīpukapuaulu for vehicles, bicyclists and hikers, including Tree Molds. The picnic area will remain closed. 
• Mauna Loa Road past Kīpukapuaulu is open for hikers and bicyclists to Mauna Loa Overlook at 6,662 feet, but is closed to vehicles. 
• Footprints Trail from Highway 11 to the Ka‘ū Desert Trail and Mauna Iki Trail junction, including the Footprints shelter (1.9 miles one way). 
• Escape Road, for bicycling, horseback riding and hiking to the Mauna Ulu junction.

With public health in mind, all other areas in the park remain closed at this time. Commercial and special use permits continue to be suspended. 

“We have completed thorough risk assessments for the continued safety of our staff and the public, and while we are excited to increase access in areas of the park that allow for social distancing in an outdoor, open-air environment, we are urging each person to be safe to keep us all safe,” said Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park Acting Superintendent Rhonda Loh. “If people cannot adhere to the latest health guidelines for their protection and ours, the park may have to close these areas again.” 

The health and safety of park users, our employees, volunteers, and partners continue to be paramount. At Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, our operational approach will be to examine each facility function and service provided to ensure those operations comply with current public health guidance, and will be regularly monitored. We continue to work closely with the NPS Office of Public Health using CDC guidance to ensure public and workspaces are safe and clean for all.  

While these areas are accessible for the public to enjoy, a return to full operations will continue to be phased and services may be limited. Park users should follow local area health orders from the Governor of Hawai‘i, practice Leave No Trace principles, avoid crowding and avoid high-risk outdoor activities. 

The CDC has offered guidance to help people recreating in parks and open spaces prevent the spread of infectious diseases. We will continue to monitor all park functions to ensure that visitors adhere to CDC guidance for mitigating risks associated with the transmission of COVID-19, and take any additional steps necessary to protect public health.  

Details and updates on park operations will continue to be posted on the park website www.nps.gov/hawaiivolcanoes and social media channels. Updates about NPS operations will be posted on www.nps.gov/coronavirus

CANCELLED: Waikoloa Beach Resort 4th of July Fireworks Show

The Waikoloa Beach Resort is cancelling it’s 2020 4th of July fireworks show.

Waikoloa Beach Resort has cancelled this year’s fireworks display.

The following was posted in regards to the closure:

“As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and under state and county guidelines on large gatherings, it is with great sadness that we announce the cancellation of this year’s 2020 Waikoloa Beach Resort 4th of July Extravaganza fireworks show.

The decision to cancel came as a difficult one; however, our community’s health and safety is our top priority. We look forward to the future and revitalization of our island home, our spirits, and the community.”

Grab-and-Go School Meals Program to be Extended by 4 Days During Transition to Summer Feeding Program

The Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) will extend the Grab-and-Go school meals program by four days beyond the 2019-20 school year through June 3. The program was launched on March 23 to provide breakfast and lunch meals free of charge to children 18 years and younger during the COVID-19-related school closures.

On June 4, HIDOE will transition to its summer food service program, the Seamless Summer Option (SSO) and many Grab-and-Go sites will be closing. PC: Department of Education

HIDOE will transition to its summer food service program, the Seamless Summer Option (SSO), on June 4 to provide children meals over summer break. The school-based distribution sites for breakfast and lunch will be reduced to the 35 public schools listed below. Sponsor sites at public agencies, churches and nonprofit organizations will begin serving meals to children at additional locations in communities to support keiki. The SSO program will run through July 17.

“The Grab-and-Go program has been an incredible support for our children and their families during this time of economic uncertainty and we thank our dedicated cafeteria workers, staff and administrators who have worked tirelessly to keep the daily meal distributions running smoothly,” Superintendent Dr. Christina Kishimoto said. “As we transition to the summer break, many of our 10-month employees will not be available to staff current sites, but partner organizations will be stepping forward to keep summer meals available at other sites in our communities.”

Parents are urged to check the new SSO school distribution list below, as the Grab-and-Go sites they currently visit may be closed on Jun. 4. Meal distribution at SSO sites will continue to provide grab-and-go servings in walk-up and drive-thru lines. Dine-in options will not be available. All children ages 18 and younger can receive one school breakfast and one lunch daily. Children do not have to be enrolled at the school distribution site and do not have to be public school students.

For special diet accommodations, please send an email to ​specialdiets@k12.hi.us​ with as much detail as possible. 

Parents may pick up student meals without their child(ren) present but must provide one of the following verification documents:

  • Official letter or email from school listing child(ren) enrolled.
  • Recent student report card(s).
  • Attendance record(s) from parent portals of school websites.
  • Birth certificate(s) of child(ren).
  • Student ID card(s).
  • Driver’s permit/license(s) for high school students.
  • State-issued ID of the student.

Most sites will serve breakfast and lunch while others will offer lunch only (indicated in list below). Breakfast will be served from 7:30 to 8 a.m. and lunch from 11:30 a.m. to noon.

School meal distribution sites continuing on June 4 through July 17, 2020:

The following schools previously serving Grab-and-Go meals will cease meal distribution after June 3.

School meal distribution sites closing after Thursday, June 3, 2020:

Hawaii Farmers & Distributors Receive $5.2 Million to Facilitate Food Delivery

Senator Mazie K. Hirono announced today that farmers and distributors in Hawaii will receive $5.2 million in federal funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to provide food to families in need. The funding, distributed under the Farmers to Families Food Box Program, is part of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) that Congress established in the second coronavirus relief legislation that passed the Senate in March. 

“Like so many places across the country, the COVID-19 pandemic is driving unprecedented demand for food assistance in Hawaii. The harrowing images we’ve seen of families lining up for hours to receive food demonstrate the urgency to direct more federal resources to assist those in need,” Sen. Hirono said. “This funding, provided through the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, will facilitate the delivery of assistance to food banks and other social service organizations across our state. It will also support the ongoing efforts of our farmers and distributors who have worked hard to adapt to feed individuals and families in our community. I will continue to advocate for this program and other crucial initiatives to assist Hawaii families in need.”

The Hawaii-based companies receiving funding under this program include: 

Aina Hookupu O Kilauea: $468,000

Ham Produce and Seafood Inc.: $3,584,000

Hawaii Foodservice Alliance: $313,500

Malama Kauai: $235,200

Suisan Company Limited: $621,813

The Farmers to Families Food Box Program, a component of the USDA CFAP, is aimed at supporting farmers and ranchers through the purchase of excess commodities while replenishing supplies for over-extended food banks and organizations throughout the country. Through the program, national, regional, and local suppliers partner with USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) to purchase up to $3 billion in fresh produce, dairy, and meat products. 

Suppliers in the program will package these products into family-sized boxes and transport them to food banks, community and faith-based organizations, and other non-profits that distribute food to Americans in need, with deliveries beginning on May 15, and running through June 30, 2020. Additional information on the Farmers to Families Food Box Program, including webinars and answers to FAQs, is available on the AMS website.

Share Your COVID-19 Experience With the Center for Oral History

The Center for Oral History (COH) in the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa’s College of Social Sciences invites our community to be a part of history by documenting experiences in the time of COVID-19 with them.

Hawaiʻi Life in the Time of COVID-19” project is designed for residents to reflect upon and share the pandemic’s impact – acknowledging major events, honoring courageous acts and selfless sacrifices, and helping to understand social and economic trends as they unfold.

Hawai‘i residents may participate in one of two ways:

Submissions will be accepted for at least a year, and will be shared on the project’s website on a rolling basis.

“This project is an opportunity for our community members to memorialize and reflect upon, share and memorialize their experiences and envision a better future for our islands,” said Davianna Pōmaikaʻi McGregor, COH Director and ethnic studies professor in the College of Social Sciences. “This approach is based on the rapid response oral history method used after the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center, and the 2017 and 2018 women’s marches.”

COH will compile project responses into an archive for researchers and policymakers. Key themes from the submissions will also be identified by the COH team.

COH, housed in the Ethnic Studies Department, collects, documents, preserves and highlights the recollections of Native Hawaiians and the multi-ethnic people of Hawaiʻi. It produces oral histories and interpretive historical materials about lifeways, key historic events, social movements and Hawaiʻi’s role in the globalizing world, for the widest possible use. Email cohes@hawaii.edu for more information.

Rep. Gabbard to Host Coronavirus Tele-Town Hall Today

Today, Wednesday, May 6th at 4 p.m. (Hawaii Time), Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) will be hosting another tele-town hall meeting to update Hawai‘i residents about COVID-19 impacts and resources available.

She will be joined by Sherry Menor-McNamara, the Chamber of Commerce of Hawai‘i’s President and CEO, to discuss the impact on businesses and resources available to assist them, as well as Darin Leong, an employment law attorney, who has worked with Hawai‘i community leaders to raise awareness about relief programs available to employers and employees.

This will be the eighth of a weekly coronavirus-related live telephone town hall series Rep. Gabbard has hosted.

You can sign up on Rep. Gabbard’s website to receive a phone call to join the event. Or, you can listen online at gabbard.house.gov/live.

823 People Arrived in Hawaii Yesterday

Yesterday, 823 people arrived in Hawaii including 188 visitors and 315 residents. During this same time last year, nearly 30,000 passengers arrived in Hawaii daily, including residents and visitors.

The state’s mandatory 14-day self-quarantine started on March 26th for all passengers arriving in Hawaii from out of state. The quarantine order was expanded on April 1st to include interisland travelers.

This table shows the number of people who arrived by air from out of state yesterday and does not include interisland travel.

Partnership Will Serve Free Meals to Kids During School Closure

A partnership of non-profit and governmental organizations is expanding a program that is serving free healthy meals, prepared according to United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) standards, to eleven Oʻahu sites reaching about 1,700 children and youth per day.

Since Hawaiʻi public schools were closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this partnership has been increasing its capacity to provide free meals to keiki, as a complement the meal distribution sites that the Department of Education (DOE) is operating at about 70 public schools, out of 256 across the state.

The newest sites serving lunch are at Kuhio Elementary School in Honolulu and Puʻuwai Momi in ʻAiea. Palama Settlement in Kalihi will continue to be the only site serving suppers.

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).

Four SFSP sponsors—YMCA of Honolulu, Parents And Children Together, Palama Settlement, and Windward Nazarene Academy—have stepped up to provide free meals for keiki in low-income areas on Oʻahu during these unplanned school closures.

The sponsors are partnering with Aloha Harvest, Kapiʻolani Community College, Lanakila Pacific, Hawaiʻi Appleseed, and Hawaii Child Nutrition Programs to get the meals prepared and delivered.

The following eleven sites provide free healthy grab-and-go meals, Monday through Friday, to keiki up to age 18:

View a map of the below sites here. Through June 30, 11:30 AM to 12:30 PM

Grab-and-Go Breakfast & Lunch Update

During the extended closure, the Hawai’i Department of Education will provide student grab-and-go breakfast and lunch at select schools to children 18 years and under. Children must be present.

The Hawai’i State Department of Education (HIDOE) is working closely with the Hawai’i Department of Health (DOH) on COVID-19 guidance for our students, teachers, parents and staff.

In close coordination with DOH, existing HIDOE emergency response plans are being adapted for future implementation when needed. Detailed communications from schools are planned to keep parents notified should the situation arise.

Luana Hospitality Group Cooks Up Ways to Help Employees

In Hawaii, the value of ohana (family) takes on a deeper meaning during times like these. Luana Hospitality Group, in an abundance of caution and in response to Governor David Ige’s “stay at home” proclamation, closed Huggo’s, On the Rocks, Lava Lava Beach Club locations in Waikoloa and Kauai and Paradise Gourmet Catering last month. Most of their 350 plus employees from have been out of work ever since. 

In keeping in the spirit of Aloha Pass it On, Luana Hospitality Group Principals Scott Dodd and Eric von Platen Luder, are cooking up ways to support their employees and their families who have been hit hard by unemployment and the stay at home mandates. Aloha Pass it On program started in 2019 as a way to pass on the aloha spirit, spread good vibes, promote a sense of giving and practice random acts of kindness. Providing meals for during this time is an extension of Aloha Pass it On focused on its own family of employees.

Launched this past Friday, Luana Hospitality Group employees and up to four family members will have access to daily meal. Huggo’s, On the Rocks and Lava Lava Beach Club managers, kitchen staff and others worked quickly to prepare the kitchens and order needed ingredients while working within COVID-19 guidelines. Social distancing and other safety measures are the order of the day in preparing to serve meals for Luana Hospitality Group’s employees and their family members. Take out hot meals for reheating at home are available for employee pick up every day. 

It’s estimated that each of the four restaurants, huggo’s, On The Rocks, and the two Lava Lava Beach Club locations will serve between 700 and 800 meals every day to Luana Hospitality Group employees and their families during this time. 

Earlier this month, Luana Hospitality Group teamed up with the Flavour Gallery, who launched RestaurantMerch.com in order to provide restaurants with a fundraising platform to assist with employee relief efforts. Lava Lava Beach Club designed and sold limited edition t-shirts. Flavour Gallery pledged 100% of all profits raised to help provide food for their staff affected by this devastating situation.  The Lava Lava Beach Club limited edition t-shirts sold out during the 5-day flash sale. Watch  RestaurantMerch.com for the 2nd phase of relief effort featuring the “Aloha Pass it On” t-shirt. 

Luana Hospitality Group will continue to explore efforts to help its ohana of employees who have been hit hard by the coronavirus crisis.

Kona Brewers Festival: Good News in Uncertain Time

The Ke Kai Ala Foundation wishes to extend deep gratitude to our Kona Brewers Festival ohana for stepping up with generosity and aloha. The March 14th fundraising event was called off two days prior as news of the fast-moving pandemic was breaking.

PC: Kona Brewers Festival

“At the time, it was a hard decision, but now, looking back, we absolutely made the right call to put people first. We are happy to share that even though we had already incurred many expenses, we raised $90,000. All pre-approved Beneficiaries will be receiving 75% of projected fundraising goals,” said Kona Brewers Festival Director Kate Jacobson.  

Mahalo to the Kona Brewing Company who donated $100,000, The Healy Foundation’s matching grant of $25,000, Southwest Airlines gift of $16,000, dozens of other business sponsors and the hundreds of fans who donated their tickets to fund important community work supporting the environment, culture and youth. 

PC: Kona Brewers Festival

“We are so impressed by the agility and resilience of our Beneficiaries who are moment by moment, reinventing how to deliver programs and services. This is not easy to do, and we have great respect for them being so strong and smart in these extraordinary times,” said Jacobson. “We understand the challenge of uncertainty and that now, more than ever, our commitment to collaboration and sustainable practices needs to be at the forefront of how we move forward.” 

“What a lot of people don’t know about the Kona Brew Fest is that it is first and foremost, a community celebration. Organizers don’t put on a festival, our community does. We just connect people. The spirit of community is what founded this event, and especially in times like these, the community together is what sustains it,” said Summer Carrick, KBF Organizer. With more than 500 volunteers, donated food and beer, and everyone chipping in with their gifts, the festival relies on the generosity of island business, community groups, and the people to make the beloved gathering a success for 25 years.  “To see the support rolling in since the day we announced the cancellation, from the homebrewers to the fans sending in checks, it really shows how much this event means to our island Ohana.”

PC: Kona Brewers Festival

The Kona Brewers Festival has made emergency grants available through tough times before, from the 2011 tsunami to the Kilauea eruptions of 2018, the spirit of generosity is central to the work. The Ke Kai Ala Foundation Chair Mattson Davis asked organizers to “Dig deep, be generous, and this too shall pass, we will get through this. The State of Hawaii is very resilient, has gotten through so many things, even when our economy is so dependent on tourism. There is going to be a lot called upon you in the next months. Your friends may reach out to you. Be creative.” 

“One of the surprising lessons for me is how festivals contribute to social cohesion and positivity. We all need to stay home and safe now, so we can gather together again in celebration of each other and our beautiful island life,” said Jacobson.

PC: Kona Brewers Festival

Organizers plan to make the popular Kona Brewers Festival merchandise available for sale and will be announcing a retail page for soon at www.konabrewersfestival.com. The website also has a complete list of sponsors and beneficiaries

In looking forward to the 25th anniversary on March 13, 2021, Jacobson said “we are inspired by this raw awareness of our interconnectedness and learn new ways to create a sustainable future that fully supports each and every one of us”.