Shoyu chicken and Caesar salad are some of the healthy favorites delivered by Kapiʻolani Community College’s new food truck to children eligible for free and reduced lunches at six meal sites over the summer. The effort is part of the Department of Education Office of Hawaiʻi Child Nutrition Program’s summer food services program in partnership with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The Culinary Institute of the Pacific and Health Sciences Programs at Kapiʻolani CC received $70,000 from Kaiser Permanente and $50,000 from Walmart Foundation to support the purchase and refurbishment of the college’s “Cooking up a Rainbow” Health and Wellness Food Truck.
Said Daniel Leung, program coordinator in Kapiʻolani CC’s Culinary Arts Department, “We are most grateful to Kaiser Permanente and Walmart and our other key supporters for their generosity. This food truck plays such a key role in providing children with essential nutrition at times when they need it most, and educating our community for a lifetime of healthy eating. Mahalo!”
Kapiʻolani CC is producing the lunches with help from participants in the college’s Go Cook! Hawaiʻi job training program funded by a U.S. Department of Labor Community College Career and Technical Training Grant. Go Cook! Hawaiʻi students helped deliver the lunches they had prepared to keiki at Kūhiō Park Terrace in June.
“It made me feel good to see us helping all these kids,” Kapiʻolani CC student Roselinta Nedelec said. “I just feel awesome. I’m proud of myself that I made the food and I’m here to witness them eating it.”
The healthy lunch recipes are developed by the college’s Culinary Innovation Center with the goal of using food from local farmers. The summer food services are also serving as a pilot production and taste-testing opportunity for a statewide farm-to-school lunch menu development project.
Providing meals and wellness education
Throughout the year, the health and wellness food truck will provide preventive health education and screening in a range of community settings to children and families in low-income and outlying communities.
“Good nutrition is a fundamental building block of a healthy lifestyle,” said Dave Underriner, president of Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and Hospitals, Hawaiʻi Region. “It’s our pleasure to support KCC’s innovative work in providing meals to those in need because it will help our keiki, our kupuna and our community thrive.”
As a “mobile, hands-on classroom,” the truck will also transport chef instructors, ingredients and portable cooking equipment to conduct hands-on healthy eating and healthy cooking workshops organized by non-profit partner agencies and community health clinics.
Said Lance McAlister, Hawaiʻi market manager for Walmart, “We feel it’s important to give back to the island communities we serve. On behalf of our more than 4,000 Walmart associates in Hawaiʻi, we’re proud to support this valuable social service outreach program.”
See more images of the Kapiʻolani CC Food Truck at the University of Hawaiʻi Foundation Flickr.