June 3, 2020

Waipio food distribution feeds families in need

Kaiser Permanente and UNITE HERE Local 5 supply laid off hotel workers with fresh produce and more.

Kaiser Permanente employees in Hawaii load boxes of produce and meat during food distribution event for hotel workers furloughed due to COVID-19.

Contact: Laura M. Lott
808-343-2406 (mobile)

HONOLULU — More than 500 families received fresh produce and other food at Kaiser Permanente’s Waipio Medical Office on May 31, 2020.

The food distribution is part of the United States Department of Agriculture Farmers to Families Food Box Program facilitated by Ham Produce and Seafood and coordinated by Kaiser Permanente Hawaii to benefit UNITE HERE Local 5 workers struggling financially due to the closure of Hawaii’s visitor industry.

“Many Kaiser Permanente employees at Moanalua Medical Center and facilities across the state are also represented by Local 5 so it is especially gratifying to see union brothers and sisters helping each other,” said Eric Gill, UNITE HERE Local 5’s financial secretary-treasurer.

Ham Produce and Seafood received USDA funding to purchase and assemble produce and meat products into large boxes for family-sized donations. The company then works with local nonprofit organizations and partners to distribute the food to struggling families.

“We’re grateful to all our community partners and USDA for making the Farmers to Families Food Box Program possible,” said Sam Hugh, vice president of Ham Produce and Seafood. “This program not only helps feed those in need, it also maintains valuable distribution channels for our local farmers.”

More than 70 Kaiser Permanente volunteers pitched in at the Waipio event.

“We’re honored to work with our labor partners to assist our members,” said Chris Hause, vice president of marketing, sales, and business development. “Our nurses and doctors have been fighting on the front line of the pandemic delivering high-quality care and saving lives. Now we all have to pitch in and help our clients and members with the economic impact of COVID-19.”

The Farmers to Families Food Box Program was announced in April 2020 as part of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program in response to the COVID19 national emergency. The program was developed to help farmers and ranchers through the purchase of excess commodities and providing much needed supplies to food banks and other nonprofit organizations throughout the country. Through the program, national and local suppliers will partner with USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service’s Procurement Program to purchase and distribute up to $3 billion in fresh produce, dairy, and meat products to those in need.

About Kaiser Permanente

Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, Kaiser Permanente has a mission to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve more than 12.4 million members in eight states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal Permanente Medical Group physicians, specialists and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education and the support of community health.