Food Drive Coordinator, Noah Ogasawara on Tomorrow’s Leaders Today

Young leader's efforts to relieve food insecurity

Many of Hawaii’s residents have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and more people than ever are in need of food assistance.

Seeing this need in his community, Noah Ogasawara, a rising senior at Waipahu High School, organized a food drive with the Hawaii Foodbank to assist families in need. Ogasawara says, “At the beginning of the pandemic, it made me realize that the need for food was very high and the supply was very limited so I thought of a simple way to impact the community.”

The Hawaii Foodbank is a local non-profit organization that is working to “provide emergency food to members of [the] community impacted by the pandemic, as well as those already facing hunger every day.”

Ogasawara initially organized a food drive with donations from his friends and family. When the Waipahu High School staff discovered his desire to help the community, Assistant Principal Eunice Fukunaga encouraged him to expand his efforts.

On July 30, Ogasawara, with support from Assistant Principal Fukunaga, coordinated a food collection drive asking the Waipahu High School faculty and staff to donate food items. With this second food drive, he collected a total of 145 pounds of food, all of which he donated to the Hawaii Foodbank.

Ogasawara is inspired by how the community has come together during this time of crisis. Many people are struggling but they are still eager to give what little they have to offer. He reflects, “It made me very happy to see that everyone is willing to give and help make an impact.”

As a young leader, Ogasawara gained passion in response to a community need. He hopes to keep the momentum and continue coordinating food drives. He asks that everyone do what they can to help their community.

For more information on how you can donate, visit hawaiifoodbank.org.