people smiling in the food pantry

From left, Fred Dela Cruz, Eric Rodrigues, Calvin Fukuhara, Shay Hara and Kapena Desa. (Photo credit: UH Hilo)

A new food pantry for students facing food insecurity is now open at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo. Hale Paʻi ʻAi is a one-year pilot project that will provide services to students in need of reliable access to food.

“A food pantry concept alone will not resolve student food insecurities, however, it is a first step toward addressing immediate student hunger needs,” said Brenda Hamane, director of special projects at UH Hilo. “Hale Paʻi ʻAi is not intended to supply all food a student needs for the week, but will provide supplemental food to students who are in need of this type of support.”

The UH Hilo food pantry concept was developed by Jordan Kamimura, a UH Hilo senior majoring in business. He developed the food pantry proposal as part of a fall 2018 internship project.

three people smiling

From left, Marcia Sakai, Jordan Kamimura and Kalei Rapoza at the rollout event of the Teapresso Bar concession. (Photo credit: Raiatea Arcuri, UH Hilo Stories)

Kamimura researched student food insecurities and other university pantries and then prepared a proposal that does not rely on food donations to sustain operations but incorporates existing resources. The proposal was reviewed and approved by UH Hilo Interim Chancellor Marcia Sakai and Interim Vice Chancellor for Administrative Affairs Kalei Rapoza.

Kamimura’s proposal launched in March with the first “Pop Up for Hunger” event, opening a Teapresso Bar concession on the Library Lanai, providing more drink options for students on campus and helping fund the new food pantry program.

“This is a rewarding student internship experience, and an outstanding administrative affairs team collaboration to provide services to students with food insecurities,” said Sakai. “The reward for Jordan Kamimura is to see his research and the development of a food pantry proposal implemented by administrative affairs, and benefiting UH Hilo students who are experiencing food insecurities.”

The food pantry will officially open in fall 2019. Until then, administrative affairs is holding a soft opening during the remainder of the spring semester to gather feedback from students with food insecurities. Hale Paʻi ʻAi is located in portable building 22, room 101, 2–4 p.m.

Hale Paʻi ʻAi soft opening dates:

  • Tuesday, April 16
  • Thursday, April 18
  • Monday, April 22
  • Wednesday, April 24
  • Friday, April 26
  • Tuesday, April 30
  • Thursday, May 2

For more go to UH Hilo Stories.