Helping to feed Hawaii families and boost the local economy
Sponsored by Kaiser Permanente Hawaii
The community continues to rally around those most in need, and on this Mahalo Monday, HI Now host Kanoe Gibson is joined by Momi Akimseu, President of the Bank of Hawaii Foundation, to talk about what the organization is doing to help the community.
“We’ve invested in two pivotal research studies: The AUW ALICE Report, which brought to light how nearly half of our residents are facing financial hardship,” Akimseu explains. “Bank of Hawaii Foundation also commissioned a COVID-19 study with Anthology Research – the most comprehensive look to date on the impacts of the pandemic affecting residents.”
The study found that 45 percent reported their household income declined since the start of COVID-19. 1/4 were delinquent paying at least some of their bills. 1/5 reported to have issues with food security, and 13 percent sought out food from a local food drive or food bank.
“Those are significant numbers, and it was important for us to help our community in a significant way,” Akimseu says. “With our one million dollars dedicated to food relief, including $750,000 to Oahu and $250,000 to our neighbor islands, the CCOH matched the one million so that more than 300,000 families were provided with food through eight food distribution drives held at the Aloha Stadium in May.”
Akimseu says it was heartwarming to see the number of volunteers and the quantity and quality of the food provided – proteins, starch, fresh island produce, milk, eggs – by generous food supplies and partners. Individuals and families from all walks of life were provided with good and healthy food – and enough where they could prepare a number of meals.
The Bank of Hawaii Foundation also has its “Mahalo, Let’s Eat” and “Bankoh-Meals-To Go” programs. These have fed its bank ‘ohana and contributed to keeping restaurants open, providing jobs for workers and contributing upwards of $300,000 into Hawaii’s economy.
“‘Mahalo, Let’s Eat’ was to show aloha to front-line employees across the enterprise, in the state of Hawaii and in the West Pacific. We had food delivered from restaurants of their choice, each week for several months,” Akimseu says. “Our Bankoh Meals-To-Go program makes meals available to our 2,100-plus employees.”
One meal package includes a protein, starch and vegetable, and enough food to feed a family of four. Employees can share it with their families, or are encouraged to pay it forward. Many have passed meals along to those in our community, from first responders to kūpuna to single-parents and or those now unemployed.
“Our kitchen staff have cooked and prepped over 14,000 meals so far, and donates the equivalent of any unreserved meals to Aloha Harvest to pay it forward,” says Akimseu.
The Bank of Hawaii Foundation even donated three million dollars to the Hawaii Resilience Fund, the largest corporate donation to-date.
The funding is helping to address three key areas: One million dollars to meet health and safety needs, one million dollars to provide food security and food and nutrition for individuals and families, and another one million dollars to help people get back to work, businesses to open, and nonprofits to support stakeholders.
“The focus here is intended to jump-start our economy and boost its recovery,” Akimseu says.
For more information: boh.com, or on Facebook, Twitter. and Instagram: @bankofhawaii