17 Nov Hunger & Homelessness
There is a price for living in paradise, and everyone pays. In Hawaii, a gallon of milk averages $4.69 compared to Nevada’s $2.99. On average, tenants pay $1,500 to more than $2,000 a month in rent for a one-bedroom apartment, not including utilities. Even with a full-time job and stable finances, the cost for essentials can be overwhelming.
November is Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Month. It is a time where service providers, policymakers, and survivors come together to draw attention to two prevalent issues: the housing crisis and food insecurity, both of which impact Hawaii residents. This month also emphasizes the importance of supporting high-risk individuals and families experiencing unstable housing and food insecurity.
Now over a year into the COVID-pandemic, 48% of families in Hawaii reported experiencing very low to low rates of food insecurity.
“Very low” – lack of a reliable access to food
“Low” – only have access to poorer quality food than those who are food secure.
Seventy-five percent of those who said they had limited access to food, reported a loss of employment or income due to COVID-19. Around 93,000 students receive free or reduced meals from school, but what about the adults, kupuna and meals not served by the schools?
In Hawaii, one in five families rely on a food bank or pantry for groceries. For Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders, that rate increases to two in five families. In 2020, an estimated one in three children lived in food insecure households.
Most food banks allow anyone to receive donated food for free. To check dates for distribution and registering for pick up, check out Hawaii Food Bank’s regularly updated website: https://hawaiifoodbank.org/help/
Feeding the Gap
At IHS shelters, we serve three meals a day. Our meal program is based in the Sumner Men’s Shelter kitchen and supplies food for temporary and specialty shelters — an average of 827 meals per day, seven days a week. Led by Ana, the meal program staff and volunteers work daily to provide nutritious meals for our guests.
Ingredients are supplied through partnerships, in-kind, and monetary donations. Hawaii Food Bank and other local organizations, companies, individuals provide frequently needed supplies, like rice, pasta, and potatoes. Items needed are listed on IHS’s Meal Program Amazon Wish List.
Another simple way to help support our meal program and other services year-round is to shop with Amazon Smile. Amazon Smile is a feature where a percentage of your order’s cost is donated to the charity of your choice. To choose IHS as your charity, go to smile.amazon.com, select “Choose a Charity” and search “IHS Institute for Human Services Inc” and select the option based in Honolulu, HI.
Food insecurity is more common than most people think; thankfully, there are more resources available than many realize.
To volunteer in the kitchen or donate pre-made sandwiches email firstname.lastname@example.org, or complete the individual volunteer form.