Government Shutdown Inspires A Food Drive to Support Hawaii’s People

The prolonged U.S. Federal Government shut down is now in its fifth week and growing concern is starting to set in on the impact that it is having on Federal Government employees nationwide, as well as people who rely on federal programs to make ends meet. One of the organizations making a difference in helping the community has been the Hawaii Foodbank, a top local non-profit agency who is providing special meals to federal employees on Oahu affected by the government shutdown, as well as their continued support of people in need including the elderly, families, children, disabled veterans, underemployed and unemployed.

The agency reports that they have seen an increase in people coming in to ask for help ever since the government shutdown began. “More and more of the 2,700 local furloughed federal workers and 1,626 military personnel serving in the Coast Guard who didn’t receive their paychecks on January 11, are facing hunger, some for the first time in their lives,” said Ron Mizutani, CEO of Hawaii Foodbank. He goes on to say, “With every passing day, more families are being pressured into situations they’re unfamiliar with and should never have to face them alone. It is unclear when the issues faced at our Nation’s Capitol will be resolved but we must prepare as if a massive storm is quickly approaching.”

As a result, the Hawaii Foodbank has issued a plea for help asking leaders, individuals,  and organizations in the community for monetary and food donations. Canned proteins, canned meals, canned vegetables, canned fruits, and rice are in high demand.

Hunger in Hawaii

The hard truth is that the agency has compiled these statistics about the people who come to the Hawaii Foodbank for help — many of them making tough choices to survive. 62% of clients must choose between paying for food or utilities. 56% of clients must choose between paying for food or medication. 48% of clients must choose between paying for food or housing. The stark realities are a combination of our high cost of living and sudden hardships of losing a job or a number of different reasons. The fact is many in Hawaii are living paycheck to paycheck. Although Hawaii is considered a dream destination for many visitors — there are thousands of people in our island home that struggle to make ends meet.

A Call to Action

Hawaii Life Oahu offices have responded with an emergency Food Drive that began on Wednesday, January 23rd and will run until Friday, February 8, 2019. Hawaii Life agents and their friends, clients, and families are coming together to drop off canned goods or monetary donations to any one of several Hawaii Life offices on the island of Oahu during this time. Hawaii Life offices are located on Waialae Avenue in Kaimuki, Laulani Village in Ewa Beach, The Shops at Anahulu in Haleiwa and Kilauea Avenue in Kahala.

We hope this blog feature inspires other individuals and organizations to take action to help. If you’d like to make a difference by holding your own food drive or donating to the Hawaii Food Bank please reach out to them at (808)954-7867 or

Rose Medina Kemna is a Realtor Broker at Hawaii Life and can be reached at


Mahalo nui loa to the entire team at Hawaii Life on the island of Oahu for your generous giving to the Hawaii Foodbank and helping to feed the hungry in our community! Thank God the government shutdown is over! Please know that whatever you gave was very much appreciated by the Hawaii Foodbank and by me and the whole volunteer team!

Between all Oahu offices from Hawaii Kai, to the Choi Group in Kahala, to the Waialae, Ewa Beach and North Shore offices — we turned in a total of 11 boxes and 300 pounds of food collected over a very short period of two weeks. Once again, thank you and Mahalo nui loa from my heart!!

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