Top Ten Most Needed Items at the Maui Food Bank (MFB):
• Financial Contributions
• Canned Meat
• Canned Tuna
• Canned Fruits
• Canned Vegetables
• Soups with Protein
• Canned Meals
Maui County faces a historical food scarcity crisis brought on by the economic impacts of COVID-19. Food insecurity is significantly impacting Native Hawaiians, Micronesians, Filipinos, working poor, children, youth, seniors, and the homeless, with Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders having more than double the rate of food insecurity of all other four major ethnicities in the state (Hawaii Health Data Warehouse and the Hawaii Department of Health).
Last year Hawaii’s unemployment ranked the highest in the U.S. (Hawaii State Department of Labor & Industrial Relations, 7/21/20), making food scarcity numbers in Maui County skyrocket and far exceed anything MFB has seen in 26 years. MFB is the primary safety net for food distribution in Maui County and vigorously works with 161 partner agencies and programs to meet the need. In 2019 MFB typically served 10,000 people a month who were food insecure. Of those served, 40 percent were children and youth. During the pandemic, the number of people being served has escalated to 48,000 people a month!
Under normal circumstances, MFB conducts over 1,000 food drives a year. Since April 2020, MFB has done no food drives due to restrictions caused by COVID-19. Now, most food is coming from the mainland, and MFB’s costs for meals have increased 100%. Pre-COVID days four meals cost $1. Now $1 provides two meals. With the need for food increasing exponentially, MFB has had to go beyond anything they have faced before.
They have created special food supplies, working closely with partner agencies who serve and deliver to remote areas such as Hana, Kahakuloa, Kahihikinui, Molokaʻi, and Lānaʻi. MFB has conquered challenges with the generosity of friends like local businesses, corporate and family foundations, individuals, CARES Act funding, and community donations. Still, they need more help to meet demand. Tens of thousands of hungry people on Maui, Molokaʻi, and Lānaʻi depend on MFB. If we all donate this spring, we can help MFB provide food for thousands of our families most in need of hunger relief.
Image Credit: Maui Food Bank