Volunteers Help Chef Hui Deliver 15,000+ Meals & Support Local Restaurants
Hawaii Life agents have been donating their time to a great cause in recent weeks. Chef Hui—a collective of local chefs and other foodservice providers throughout Hawaii—spearheaded the Give and Go Community Meal Program in early May to support local restaurants and farms and feed families in need in our communities.
The Give and Go Community Meal Program supports local eateries now offering takeout or delivery service. Participating establishments are invited to produce a set number of additional meals to be donated and delivered by a network of volunteers and community organizations. To fund the program, Chef Hui partnered with local businesses and organizations, including the Hawai‘i Life Charitable Fund at the Hawaii Community Foundation, Johnson Ohana Foundation, American Savings Bank, Wholesome Wave, Altres, and World Surf League.
“Working together, we hope to keep Hawaiʻi farmers farming and cooks cooking while providing prepared meals for those in need,” said Amanda Corby Noguchi in a May press release. She is one of the co-founders of Chef Hui along with her husband, Chef Mark Noguchi, whose principal business is catering and culinary education at Pili Group.
Since its inception, the meal delivery project has made a huge impact. It is fast approaching its initial goal of providing 20,000 meals to Hawai‘i residents facing financial hardships due to the coronavirus. Crucially, though, it’s also supporting a hui of local restaurants, farms and their employees.
“We are currently serving over 26 organizations and have given out over 15,000+ meals to people in need,” said Polani Mo’okini in a recent email. Polani is part of the Chef Hui ‘Ohana and works with Corby Noguchi’s event planning and PR firm, Under My Umbrella. “We have about 20 local restaurants being supported by this effort, helping them stay afloat during this tough financial time,” she said.
“We give out both individual and family-style meals to communities like Papakōlea and Pālolo and community feeding organizations such as Child and Family Services on O’ahu and Hawai’i Island,” she continued. Chef Hui has also partnered with local farmers like Ken Milner in Pupukea and Ho Farms in Kahuku to gather local produce for this effort.
Hawai‘i Life agents Nicole Fujitani and Linda Hussey have answered the call to help deliver meals throughout their Hawai‘i Island communities. Together, they cover three delivery shifts a week. Hussey noticed that the families receiving meals at one location were both humble and grateful, many saying they felt that other families might be in even greater need.
“Our hope is that this program will provide some financial relief so that restaurants and farms can continue to employ their staff and hopefully even bring back additional staff. It’s like a triple bottom line. It supports farmers, restaurants and it feeds people,” said Corby Noguchi.
Chef Hui continues to raise funds and is accepting donations from both companies and individuals. Interested businesses can email ChefHuiHi@gmail.com or reach out via their website. Individuals are invited to donate online to the Hawaii Community Foundation’s Chef Hui Fund or purchase a meal at participating restaurants. A portion of the proceeds from each purchase will support community meals. Some restaurants taking part are also promoting this program to their networks with a “buy one give one” program.
Hawaii Life agents and staff looking to volunteer their time can reach out to Linda Hussey or John Climaldi for more information.