Hawaiʻi Community College has partnered with The Salvation Army to provide meals to residents displaced by the Puna lava flow and Kīlauea ash eruption who are staying at emergency shelters in Pāhoa and Keaʻau. Hawaiʻi CC’s culinary arts program is preparing breakfast, lunch and dinner several days a week for approximately 300 people at each meal.
Faculty, staff and student interns from Hawaiʻi CC’s agriculture program are growing and harvesting produce at the program’s farm site in Panaʻewa. They have harvested produce that was planted during the spring semester, planted more lettuce and will continue with additional planting. The produce will be used in the meals prepared by the culinary arts program. In addition, Hawaiʻi CC’s planning, operations and maintenance department assisted with the delivery of meals from the Hilo campus to the shelters.
“Our thoughts are with all those affected by the eruption,” said Shawn Sumiki, a Hawaiʻi CC culinary arts instructor. “There are so many people and organizations helping out during this disaster, and the Hawaiʻi Community College ʻohana is pleased to be able to use some of the resources we have available to contribute to this effort.”
“We’re grateful that Hawaiʻi CC’s culinary arts program could partner with us for shelter meals several times a week,” said Victor Leonardi, divisional emergency disaster services coordinator for The Salvation Army. “In addition to purchasing these meals (from) Hawaiʻi CC, we are continuing to support local restaurants with the purchase of meals on other days. All of this highlights the continued need for monetary donations to support the shelter meal service.”
Leonardi says the Salvation Army’s meal purchases are averaging about $35,000 a week. Donations may be made at the Hawaiʻi Salvation Army website.
—By Thatcher Moats