Honolulu Police Department officers serving meals

Honolulu Police Department officers serving meals at Kukui Gardens in downtown Honolulu.

In a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development publication (HUD) Happenings article, Kapiʻolani Community College was recognized as a champion for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Summer Food Service Program (SFSP).

SFSP ensures that no children 18 years and younger will go hungry during the summer when school is not in session. The goal of the federally-funded, state-administered program is to provide healthy alternatives to junk food and to help kids return to school ready to learn.

Several committed cross-sector partners, such as Hawaiʻi Literacy, Parents and Children Together, Susannah Wesley, Hawaiʻi Public Housing Authority and the Ecumenical Association for Housing collaborated in this partnership.

Ronald Takahashi, department chair for culinary arts, was cited for his can do team of champions who planned and prepared well-balanced meals at reimbursement costs, making the program possible without the need for additional funding. In total, the team served approximately 20,000 meals to 6,400 underprivileged school children over seven weeks. Chefs Lee Shinsato, Dave Hamada and the cafeteria staff, Go Cook Hawaiʻi trainees, plus store room staff Joey Silva all worked throughout to prepare the lunches at Kapiʻolani CC and deliver it to five different sites. John Mizokawa, Kapiʻolani CC’s operations manager, planned the menu and provided oversight for the entire operations.

The five sites served were Kukui Gardens, Kukui Terrace, YMCA at Nuʻuanu, YMCA in Kalihi and Mayor Wright Housing.

For further outreach, the Honolulu Police Department District 1 Community Policing Team helped served lunches to nearly a hundred kids who live in Kukui Gardens, an affordable housing property in Chinatown in downtown Honolulu.

“This project is very valuable from a research and development standpoint,” said Daniel Leung, Kapiʻolani CC’s culinary health and wellness coordinator. “We gained a lot of knowledge from the production process, and were able to get feedback from the consumers (children and teens) that will enable us to develop children-friendly healthy school lunch recipes in our Culinary Innovation Center and for our future food processing facility.”