LIHU’E -The Kaua’i Food Bank is one of five grassroots organizations from
throughout the United States that will be honored in New York City Monday at
the 25th anniversary celebration of World Hunger Year.
organizations are recipients of the Harry Chapin Self-Reliance Awards.
addition to the local Food Bank, they include a low-income families empowerment
program in Oakland, Calif.; a rural crisis center in Missouri; Operation Spring
Plant, Inc., which works to preserve family farms in Oxford, N.C.; The Hope
Program, which addresses the underlying causes of homelessness and welfare
dependency in Brooklyn, N.Y.; and The Women’s Venture Fund for low-income women
entrepreneurs in New York, N.Y.
Kaua’i Food Bank Executive Director Judith
Lenthall will be in New York to accept the award.
Candidates for the Harry
Chapin Self-Reliance awards were discovered through the World Hunger Year’s
Reinvesting in America program, which is a national network of community-based
organizations that create self-reliance, economic justice and food
The recipients were chosen from hundreds of applications and are
being honored for a high level of innovation and creativity in their efforts to
fight domestic hunger and poverty by empowering people and building
The Food Bank reduces hunger through education and
vocational training, and promotes and strengthens a food-secure island
community through self-reliant, culturally appropriate
Lenthall said the organization was chosen for its “innovation
and creativity in addressing the root causes of hunger and poverty through
grassroots economic development and culturally appropriate
The Kaua’i Food Bank began emergency feeding operations one
month after Hurricane ‘Iniki hit in 1992. It operated under the administrative
umbrella of the O’ahu-based Hawai’i Food Bank for two years. In 1995 and
$60,000 in debt, it became an independent organization.
Over the past five
years, the Food Bank has provided more than 3 million pounds of food to the
community and distributes over 650,000 pounds of food annually.
distributed from the Food Bank warehouse to churches and nonprofit agencies
who, in turn, feed people in need.
“In the past five years we’ve not only
gained independence and self-sufficiency, we’re increased the number of
agencies we serve from 20 to over 107,” said Paul Douglass, retired Matson
district manager and one of the Food Bank’s founding members.
the Food Bank’s Hui Mea’ai program may have been a factor in winning the Chapin
The program works to end hunger by promoting local diversified,
sustainable agriculture and grassroots economic development.
Mea’ai,” Lenthall said, “provides a steady and reliable income stream for
those interested in growing their own food for themselves and for others, and
fights hunger through education, training and the self-sufficiency of Kaua’i’s
The Hui has 46 participating farmers and distributes food to 63
outlets on the island. This year, the organization expects to put almost
$100,000 into the hands of Kaua’i farmers. Earlier this year, the Kaua’i Food
Bank was the recipient of an achievement in management for excellence award
from the Weinberg Foundation. The Food Bank feeds about 10 percent of Kaua’i’s
population, half of whom are children.