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Aging Well: Maui nonprofit feeds the hungry; 50% are seniors

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Aging Well: Maui nonprofit feeds the hungry; 50% are seniors

KIHEI, Hawaii -- A South Maui nonprofit is asking for community support so it can fulfill its mission of helping seniors with Aging Well. It's a soup kitchen that feeds about 130 people a night, and half of its guests are seniors.

Dr. Mary Trotto is the Volunteer Fundraising Chair for Hale Kau Kau and says, "Any given night could be 30 to 70 meals. You don't know who's going to come. It's a variety: unsheltered people, people living in their car, people living on ohana units with no kitchen."

It's been doing this for 30 years. "Maybe 50% of the people who come to the kitchen in the evening are probably in that elderly population. Homeless [people] in their 50s, 60s, and 70s," she expands. 

For those who can't drive, "Hale Kau Kau now delivers meals to the elderly, homebound, and disabled; about 80 meals a night," she adds.

Trotto says some housebound seniors rely on Hale Kau Kau for their entire day's meal. They'll eat part of it for dinner then "some of them will have it for breakfast or lunch the next day."

But the drivers bring something else- a human connection. "Each day there's a driver there. Just recently, we had a situation where the driver told Shawn Wallen, our program director, there was a problem. There was a person deteriorating and it wasn't enough that they were getting food," Trotto notes.

She hopes one day hunger won't be a problem. "Someday, maybe in the future, they won't have a need for our services," she wishes.

But until then, Hale Kau Kau relies on the community to donate money, unopened food, and volunteer hours.

It has a fundraising race, Stomp Out Hunger, on October 30 that it hopes people will sign up for. Click here for details on that race. As of this writing, Trotto isn't sure if the race will still be in person or virtual, because of the changing case counts in this pandemic.