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Foodland launches Project Keiki to ensure access to meals for Hawaiʻi students when school is not in session : Maui Now

Maui Food Bank at Wailuku Elementary School (File photo courtesy)

Foodland Super Market today launched Project Keiki, a new monthlong statewide community giving program that will help provide lunches and meals to Hawai‘i’s children on days they don’t have access to school lunches. Support will go to the Hawai‘i food banks on four islands to fulfill this mission.

According to the Hawai‘i Foodbank, one in four keiki in Hawai‘i are food insecure, meaning they often don’t have enough to eat and don’t know where their next meal will come from. In addition, food insecurity among Hawai‘i families has increased by more than 50 percent since the onset of the  COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Many children statewide rely on school-provided lunches for their nutrition during the academic year. On weekends and when school is out, many of them lose access to their most reliable and consistent source of food and nutritional balance. 

Foodland created Project Keiki to support a community need, helping the Hawai‘i Foodbank, Maui Foodbank, The Food Basket: Hawai‘i Island’s Food Bank, and Hawai‘i Foodbank Kaua‘i fund their critical work and programs providing Hawai‘i children with meals when school is not in session. Throughout the month of April, Foodland customers are invited to participate in Project Keiki to help feed a brighter future. Here’s how customers can help:

  • Donate $5 at checkout
  • Round up your purchases to the nearest dollar
  • Donate your change
  • Donate 250 Maika‘i points (the equivalent of a $5 donation)
  • Purchase a set of Foodland Pin Pals for $5 
Foodland Project Keiki Pin Pals.
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Foodland Pin Pals are a collection of nine fun, food-themed pins celebrating some of Hawai‘i’s favorite local foods, including poke, poi, musubi and more. They feature clever, playful puns such as, “It takes 2 to Mango,” “Taro-ffic,” and “Bok Choy to the World!” Three individual sets of three pins each are available for sale, and each set is priced at $5 with 100% of the proceeds going to Project Keiki. Collect them all! They’re perfect for pinning onto backpacks, purses, and aloha shirts, to show support for Hawai‘i’s keiki. Foodland’s Pin Pals are available for purchase near the registers at all Foodland stores.

“Like Hawai‘i’s four food banks, Foodland has a longstanding commitment to serving Hawai‘i residents and communities statewide,” said Foodland Chairman and CEO Jenai S. Wall. “Project Keiki is a program close to our hearts as it will help ensure Hawai‘i’s students have access to good, nutritious food on days they are not in school so they will not go hungry. Our Foodland customers have demonstrated their kindness and generosity in supporting the needs of our community and making our islands a better place to live. We thank them in advance for their support and hope they will be excited by this fun way to help feed keiki in need.”

Project Keiki is one of multiple ways Foodland is continuing its mission to create outstanding shopping experiences for customers while building the community. Project Keiki funds raised in-store will remain on-island, directly supporting the children and specific needs of each island’s communities.

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On O‘ahu, the Hawai‘i Foodbank’s Feeding Our Future summer lunch program engages the nonprofit’s food partner agencies — including the Institute for Human Services and Catholic Charities Hawai‘i — to distribute hot lunches to keiki. On Kaua‘i, Project Keiki funds will support Hawai‘i Foodbank Kaua‘i’s Keiki Café and Backpack Program.

“We have a collective responsibility to give our families every opportunity to succeed, and we are incredibly grateful for Foodland and their efforts to help nourish our ‘ohana throughout the entire state,” said Hawai‘i Foodbank President and CEO Amy Miller. “Funds raised through Project Keiki will not only help provide more children with the food they need to thrive but also give parents comfort in knowing that their keiki’s next meal is covered.”

“The Maui Food Bank aims to ensure that every child in Maui County has enough safe and nutritious food to eat and that no keiki goes to bed hungry,” said Maui Food Bank Development Director Marlene Rice. “Foodland’s Project Keiki will help fund our Aloha BackPack Buddies Program, which supplies backpacks filled with six meals to 34 schools across Maui, Moloka‘i and Lāna‘i, ensuring students have nourishment over the weekend when school is not in session.”

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Similarly, a donation of $5 on Hawai‘i Island could provide three keiki-friendly meals for The Food Basket: Hawai‘i Island’s Food Bank’s “We Got Your Back” keiki backpack program.

Food Basket Co-Director of Development Sarah Hamakawa said, “We are truly grateful for our wonderful partnership with Foodland on Project Keiki, which has given us the opportunity to nourish our island’s keiki during those long weekends and extended school breaks where they need it most.”

Source: Maui News

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