Celebrating our Faith during COVID-19

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Feeding Our Kupuna in Need

April 23, 2021

From the Office for Social Ministry

More than 16-thousand senior citizens in our island community are struggling with food insecurity, according to a 2020 report by the Hawaii Appleseed Center for Law and Economic Justice. Many of these aging seniors are eligible to receive food and financial assistance, but some may not be aware of the opportunities available. This is why it’s so important that we share information within our parish ministries, websites, social media and by word of mouth.  Since the start of the pandemic, the Office for Social Ministry has been posting links to resources for the most vulnerable on our OSM website’s COVID-19 resource page. Below are some of the highlights that you can share with our kupuna ‘ohana:

Food banks on all islands participate in the federally-funded Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP), otherwise known as Senior Food Boxes. On ‘Oahu, five of our parishes are distribution sites.  Supplies are limited and unfortunately, all sites have waiting lists.  If you are a qualified senior and live in any of the parish areas listed below, see attached CSFP application or contact Jennifer Schantz at the Food Bank at Jennifer@hawaiifoodbank.org, (808) 954-7868.  Parish distribution sites include the following:   

  1. Co-Cathedral of St Theresa, Kalihi
  2. Our Lady of Sorrows, Wahiawa
  3. Sacred Heart, Waianae
  4. St John the Baptist, Kalihi
  5. St Jude, Makakilo

Catholic Charities Hawaii has played an important role with regards to COVID recovery and community sustainability.  Their programs that serve seniors are exceptional, especially the many programs on ‘Oahu.  CCH’s Benefits Enrollment Center includes assistance in applying for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) services.  Like families and individuals who struggle with putting food on the table, older adults on a fixed income find themselves with limited access to healthy and nutritional food.  Some of our seniors don’t know that they qualify for SNAP while others may hesitate because of the complex and lengthy application process.  If you or someone you know is at least 65 years of age and qualified for Medicare, call Catholic Charities Senior Intake Line at (808) 527-4777 for information or assistance with applying for SNAP and other benefits. 

The State Executive Office on Aging thru their Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC) created a COVID-19 Supplement Food Resource Guide which includes programs on all islands.  Since the start of the pandemic, OSM highlighted a variety of food programs on different islands.  As our economy slowly picks-up and people return to work, several volunteer-run programs have had to shift gears or discontinue all together.  Because federal relief dollars have been spent out or possibly re-allocated, it’s always a good idea to call and confirm availability and schedules of operation/distribution.  The resources are listed by county in the following order: City and County of Honolulu, Maui County, Hawaii County and Kauai County. For more information and resource links, please visit the OSM website.