Hawaii Foodbank says hunger is a chronic problem in Hawaii
Going hungry in Hawaii may happen a lot more than you might think because one in eight people in the islands regularly do not have enough food.
Sweets Wright works with homeless families in West Oahu to make sure they have enough food on their table, including herself.
"It took me finally this past year to wake up and realize I'm struggling," Wright said.
She's been going to the Hawaii Foodbank for more than 10 years, to help feed her two children and seven grandchildren.
"Yeah I work, yeah I have checks that come every two weeks. Yeah I have bills I gotta pay. Once you lay it all out on the table and you realize, once you take care of the rest, there's really not much left," Wright said.
Sometimes, even a dollar per item is not cheap enough.
"Bread is too expensive, canned goods, tuna is too expensive. Anything you look at, if it's not at least 99 cents or lower, you not gonna be able to provide for a family with kids," Wright said.
Wright is not alone. Hunger affects many people in paradise.
"For kids, that's 53,000 children who know the taste of hunger or the non-taste of food. For us, that's not acceptable," Laura Kay Rand, Hawaii Foodbank vice president and chief impact officer, said.
There's a million pounds of food inside the Mapunapuna warehouse but the foodbank says that's not enough because it distributes more than 40,000 pounds of food everyday.
When disasters hit, food supplies are stretched thin at the warehouse.
"It isn't something that we can only think of six months of the year, we just have to be ready. It's a great time for all of us to make sure our communities are ready," Rand said.
A group of business professionals want to be a part of the fight to end hunger.
"It'd be us as business owners and business executives to really be aware of this so we can enact change or be aware of it for our own businesses as well," Kirk Nakamoto, Hawaii Society of Business Professionals, said.
The Hawaii Society of Business Professionals is hosting a luncheon on January 16 to talk about if Hawaii is prepared for a major disaster with our food resources. The event is at the Prince Waikiki starting at 11:30 a.m. You can find more information at hsbp.biz.