How a Little Aloha Helped Bring Needed Food to West Oahu Residents

Nov. 8, 2021
Shyann Hicks and Janet Joseph knew that help was needed, so these two Ocean Pointe Homes employees stepped in to help meet that need. “During the pandemic, we knew people needed food. Our kupūna had nowhere to go and we had the space available to distribute food, so we did it.” Well, the two had no idea what they were getting themselves into and as they sorted donated food in the Ewa Beach Ocean Pointe Community Center for hours, before distributing to those in need, they realized it was going to take a lot more hands to get the job done. 
“We still had to watch the office and do our jobs. Giving out food wasnʻt part of our day job, but management supported us. It just got to be too much for us to handle ourselves,” Joseph shares. The two soon learned that Aloha Harvest, an Aloha United Way grantee and partner in the community, was well-equipped to help. Aloha Harvest began dropping weekly supplies of food from places like Foodland and Whole Foods. This food would otherwise be thrown away. Not only did the non-profit supply food, but Aloha Harvest volunteers like Rhea Jose and Cathy Vincent, would help sort, bag, and distribute. “This was so helpful and we had no idea that Aloha Harvest could send people to help us pack the food. Our backs were killing us,” Joseph laughs. 
While the food in the boxes may vary, the Ocean Pointe schedule hasnʻt changed.  Every Thursday, from 12-1 pm, kupūna and local, west side residents line up with smiles and open arms to receive food that would, under normal circumstances, be thrown away. Aloha United Way is proud to support Aloha Harvest and support capacity-building for their programs which connect people in need with vital services and resources. “We had no idea that Aloha United Way was able to support programs like this, but keep doing it,” Joseph encouraged. For people like Marilyn McCorristan, who has been coming with her mother for months, really believes the program serves a great need. “I love coming here and how they donʻt throw the food away. . . itʻs still good and people can use it, re-use it. We use it ourselves and give to our family and friends too. We appreciate that this community does it.” 
Aloha United Way is uniquely positioned to support new and innovative programs in our community. Aloha Harvest is a 2021 Safety Net program grantee and is dedicated to rescuing food and redistributing to feed Hawai’iʻs hungry. Donations to Aloha United Way enable us to fund new programs and support agencies doing work when the need is greatest. If youʻd like to support what we do, please consider making a donation today. 
Mahalo to Aloha Harvest. Photo Credit: Rayen Watanabe, client receiving food at Ocean Pointe Community Center, Ewa Beach.