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

Rotary Club of Honolulu and Palama Settlement Create ‘Giving’ Library

Reading is cool! That’s why 48 Honolulu Club Rotarians spent their Saturday (January 24) constructing bookshelves and sorting thousands of books recently donated to the Palama Settlement-7,000 to date.

“These books will soon be off the floors, out of boxes and onto shelves ready for kids to browse and read,” said Rotarian Kirk Hovious, coordinator of the construction project for the Rotary Club of Honolulu.

Everything about this hands-on Rotary Cares project is unique.

It’s the first library–and a dream come true–for Palama Settlement, a century-old community organization serving individuals and families in the Palama, Kalihi and Liliha neighborhoods of Oahu.

It’s “non-traditional”-books will be conveniently located throughout the Palama campus-children’s books on shelves near the preschool area, teen reads at the activity center for youth and literature of all sorts at the adult education center. And, it will be a “giving” library-you can keep the book if you want it.

The message is one of literacy.

“By spreading books out in different locations, we encourage people to take and use them and share them with others,” said Jan Harada, Palama Settlement executive director, who worked with Rotarians on the concept. “It just seemed more practical.”

The project is also a double win for Honolulu Club Rotarians. By doing the work themselves, the club qualifies for a $10,000 grant from the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation. This year the funds will go to Catholic Charities Hawaii for its senior citizens transportation program.