Parks & Recreation Launches Emergency Meal Plan

Beginning this week, the County of Hawai‘i Department of Parks and Recreation’s Elderly Activities Division (EAD) began a comprehensive meal delivery program for eligible seniors enrolled in Hawai‘i County’s Nutrition Program.  In compliance with Governor Ige’s Third Emergency Proclamation on COVID-19, which restricted gatherings and instituted social distancing requirements beginning March 25, 2020, EAD undertook a herculean effort to convert its two standard meals programs for seniors, Meals on Wheels and Congregate [Meals] Sites, into a meticulously organized meal delivery network that services all enrolled seniors at their respective places of residence.  

In this initial week of EAD’s emergency meal delivery program, 3,440 frozen prepared meals will be delivered to 688 seniors that opted into the program.  Each senior will receive 5 nutritious meals per week prepared by one of five different vendors depending on the recipient’s location.  EAD staff have charted 24 distinct routes spanning the entire island to efficiently distribute the meals.  All deliveries on 22 of these routes are performed by EAD employees, in marked County of Hawai‘i vehicles, on Tuesdays, Wednesdays or Thursdays, depending on geographic location.  The remaining 2 routes (Wainaku to Pa‘auilo and Honoka‘a to Waimea) are executed by staff of Hawai‘i County Economic Opportunity Council (HCEOC) in their marked vehicles.

In addition to the delivery of meals, EAD staff members are reaching out by phone weekly to the seniors in its highest risk category to ensure they are doing okay and to inquire with them what their plans are over the next month and if there is any way that EAD can assist them further in this period of emergency.

During this time, EAD continues to service seniors through its Coordinated Services for the Elderly program that provides transportation for doctor’s appointments, pharmaceutical pickups, 2-week essentials shopping as well as emergency services (such as dialysis, cancer treatments, etc.).

The Department of Parks and Recreation thanks the Hawai‘i County Office of Aging for its continued support of this emergency meals programs as well as its meals vendors: Nani Mau, HCEOC, Café 100, Big Island Grill and L&L Drive Inn.

For questions about the program, call Roann S. Okamura, EAD Operations Director, at (808) 961-8708.