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OHA: Office of Hawaiian Affairs

OHA delivers “Meals & Mahalo” to frontline healthcare workers on Hawai’i Island

HILO, HI (October 1, 2021) – In expanding “Meals & Mahalo” statewide, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) delivered 150 “Meals & Mahalo” to Hilo Medical Center on Friday to frontline healthcare workers as an act of aloha and appreciation. Last Thursday, OHA delivered 250 lunches on to Queen’s North Hawaiʻi Community Hospital as a part of its statewide initiative to express gratitude to those serving who COVID-19 most impacts.  

The meals delivered on Hawaiʻi Island, on Oʻahu, and those in coordination will total over 1,000 delivered meals to Hawaiʻi’s frontline healthcare workers across the pae ʻāina during a time when hospitals are reporting being at their capacity with relief nurses coming in to Hawaiʻi to provide support.  

 “With the maxed capacity in our ICUs, lack of resources including staffing, we understand our healthcare workers across the state, especially those in rural communities like Hawaiʻi Island, are beyond exhausted,” said Dr. Sylvia Hussey, OHA Ka Pouhana and Chief Executive Officer. “So, we want to express our utmost aloha nui for the work they are doing by sharing food, as it is one of the most powerful ways in Hawaiian culture to show gratitude.”  

 OHA coordinated with Liquid Life, a small business founded as an organic holistic health cafe and juice bar and a recipient of an OHA Mālama Loan that supports Native Hawaiian-owned businesses, to deliver “Meals & Mahalo” to doctors, nurses, CNAs and other hospital staff. All of whom continue to confront the ravages of COVID-19, including the spike from the Delta variant.

“Hilo Medical Center is very appreciative of the Meals and Mahalo donation from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. This nourishing show of support for our staff gives us a much needed boost to continue our focus on caring for our COVID patients in this hard-hitting delta surge,” said Elena Cabatu, director of Marketing and Public & Legislative Affairs, Hilo Medical Center. 

“Our hospital team is working extra hard during these difficult times and a special meal is a greatly appreciated break to their busy day.  It means even more to them that the meal is coming from the community that they are working so hard to care for and keep safe,” said Lynn Scully, marketing and communications manager at Queen’s North Hawaiʻi Community Hospital.

As of Sept. 15, 2021, Hawaiʻi Island reported a total of 66 deaths, with Native Hawaiians ranking in the top three groups most affected by COVID-19 mortalities. According to the Hawaiʻi Emergency Management Agency, 78 percent of Hawaiʻi’s population above the age of 12 is fully vaccinated. Still, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (NHPI) groups are among the lowest rates.   

“We need a kākou effort to protect everyone in our community, our unvaccinated keiki, kūpuna, vulnerable populations with pre-existing conditions, and our overworked healthcare providers,” Hussey said. “Mālama kekahi i kekahi means to take care of one another, so let’s all come together to do just that by continuing to stay home, washing hands, social distancing, and getting vaccinated.”   

To find a vaccination site near you, go to https://hawaiicovid19.com/vaccine/.  Other community organizations interested in supporting this effort should contact Solutions Pacific at team@sphawaii.com. 

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