Background: The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on food security in Hawai'i. Prior to 2020, our hunger rates were lower than national averages; today they surpass national levels, with a dramatic impact on children in the state. A recent University of Hawai'i study found that "nearly half of Hawai'i families with children reported struggling to pay for meals as of March 2021," with an estimated 54,700 children facing hunger. According to Feeding America and the Maui Food Bank, in Maui County, one of every five children is food insecure.
While the Department of Education offered 206 food distribution sites in Hawai'i in summer 2020, this year there will be only 60 across the state. The Kaukau 4 Keiki Program attempts to address this gap by providing students with a weekly box of food, delivered directly to students' homes, for families who cannot access distribution sites. Children 18 years and younger and up to age 22 with disabilities who live in zip codes starting with 967xx can sign up to receive the Kaukau 4 Keiki food box delivery online.
An estimated 600+ students in Maui will be unable to access these food distribution sites this summer and would benefit from having a meal delivered.