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Financial Assistance for Food and Fresh Produce

June 29, 2020

From the Office for Social Ministry

Hawaii ranks among the top 5 states in the nation with highest projected percentage increase in food insecurity, according to a recent study released in May 2020 by Feeding America.

Fortunately, there are several programs to help alleviate challenges for struggling individuals and families, especially during this COVID-19 pandemic.For example,the U.S. Department of AgricultureSupplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provides nutritional support to thousands of Hawaii residents through Kokua Electronic Benefit Transfer (Kokua EBT) Cards, which are an alternative to food stamps. It’s important to note that persons who are elderly or disabled also qualify for SNAP.  For more information, visit the SNAP website to view eligibility rules and requirements.

THE PANDEMIC Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT)providesa one-time payment to eligible families with school-aged children to help buy emergency food during this current pandemic. The program is part of a collaborative effort between the State Department of Education and Human Services and works similar to the SNAP program with specific focus on households with children grades K-12. Families already receiving SNAP benefits will be issued additional credit per child on their Kokua EBT.  Families who do not receive SNAP benefits but have children enrolled in a schooldesignated under the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) will be issued a P-EBT card for food purchases, similar to a Kokua EBT.  For more information or to see the list of Hawaii CEP campuses, please click here.  If a household includes more than 1 student, the P-EBT card will be issued under the name of the oldest child.

DA BUX is a new initiative that began on June 24, 2020, essentially doubling the value of SNAP dollars.  Kokua EBT card holders are entitled to purchase select Hawaiian-grown fruits and vegetables for 50% discounts at select markets on different islands across the State.  Those who have enrolled in the Kokua EBT card program before May 31, 2020 should be receiving their cards in the mail on or before June 24, 2020.  Participating markets are:

  • On Hawaii Island – KTA Super Stores
  • On Oahu and Maui - Times Supermarket
  • On Oahu (in Waimanalo) – Shima’s Supermarket
  • On Kauai – Big Save Markets

For a list of locations and how to apply for DA BUX online, click here. Fresh produce discounts are available every day until December 29, 2020.  Eat Fresh, Buy Local! Visit the OSM website for the latest updates on COVID-19 resources.