Food insecurity is rising in Hawaiʻi for keiki, kūpuna

Food insecurity is rising in Hawaiʻi for keiki, kūpuna

Hawaiʻi is facing a burgeoning food insecurity crisis, particularly among children, elders, and other vulnerable populations. Recent studies have revealed that the number of people facing hunger in the state is on the rise, with an estimated one in seven residents struggling with food insecurity.

The issue has become particularly concerning for keiki, or children. Between 2018 and 2019, the percentage of households with children experiencing food insecurity rose from 11.5% to 13.6%. This equates to nearly 10,000 children in Hawaiʻi who are going without sufficient access to nutritious food. The issue has been exacerbated by the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, with schools closed and many families unable to access support programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

In addition to children, kūpuna—or elders—are facing food insecurity in Hawaiʻi. Older individuals are particularly vulnerable to hunger as they often face higher costs of living and limited access to nutritious food. Without adequate nutrition, kūpuna are more likely to suffer from chronic illnesses such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.

To confront the rising rates of food insecurity, local organizations have implemented a number of initiatives. For instance, the Hawaiʻi Foodbank is the only state-wide organization providing food assistance to those in need. It distributes nearly 10 million meals annually through a network of more than 225 partner agencies. Additionally, the Hawaiʻi Department of Health has established a program in which it purchases fresh fruits and vegetables from local farmers and distributes them to local food banks and pantries.

While the food insecurity crisis in Hawaiʻi is dire, there are steps being taken to address the problem. Without appropriate intervention, however, the number of people facing hunger in the state will continue to climb.

In conclusion, the prevalence of food insecurity in Hawaiʻi is on the rise, particularly among keiki and kūpuna. A variety of initiatives have been implemented to combat the issue, however without further intervention, hunger in the state will continue to increase.