Honolulu battles food insecurity through programs to revitalize industries and feed families

Courtesty of Office of the Mayor, City and County of Honolulu


HONOLULU (Eagle News) – The City and County of Honolulu this week kicks off the “Fish to Dish” program, which supports Hawaii’s longline fishing industry and distributes fresh fish to communities across the island of Oahu.

The “Fish” portion of the program consists of providing federal funds from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to more than 140 vessels of the Hawaii Longline Association. The Association will then distribute the funds to help cover vessel operating fees over a three-month period. Fishing boats participating in the program will deliver the fish to the Honolulu Fish Auction for purchase.

At the auction, the Hawaii Seafood Council will initiate the “Dish” part of the program by purchasing over 100,000 pounds (over 45,300 kilograms) of fish fillet that will be turned into 350,000 servings. These fillets will be provided to the nonprofit Hawaii Foodbank to distribute through its partner organizations. Finally, prepared fish will be served to kupuna (elderly citizens) and other hungry families across Oahu for the next five months.

“As we all do our part to make Oahu COVID-safe for one another, we must also take bold steps toward economic recovery and revitalization,” said Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell. “The way we rebuild is by constantly asking ourselves how we can better use the resources and abilities of our own people to help each other in this time of great need. ‘Fish to Dish’ is one way that the City and County of Honolulu is adapting to the ever-changing crisis and acting on the best ideas.”

In addition, the City and County of Honolulu recently made small commercial fishermen eligible for its Small Business Relief and Recovery Fund applicant pool. The mayor believes that enabling the fishing industry to resume operations and help feed fellow residents will be especially critical, given the spike in food insecurity as the pandemic enters its seventh month in the Aloha State.

“The partnerships in this program give me so much confidence that we will win the fight against COVID-19,” said Caldwell. “My thanks to the Hawaii Longline Association, Hawaii Seafood Council, Hawai‘i Foodbank and its partner organizations, and all the government employees who worked so hard to build this program to help so many across our island. This is what we can achieve when we work together as one community.”


Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell at the “Farm to Car” free food distribution at Aloha Stadium. (Photo by Jhojie Carnate, EBC Hawaii Bureau, Eagle News Service)


Also this week, the “Farm to Car” program is making a comeback to provide Oahu residents with affordable fresh fruits, vegetables, eggs and other produce from local farmers. The Honolulu government and the Hawaii Farm Bureau are collaborating once again in this effort.

Starting on Sunday, September 20, and continuing every week through December, people can pre-order local farm products online at www.farmtocarhawaii.org. Then on Saturdays, starting September 26, from 9 a.m. to 12 noon, customers can safely pick up their order with minimal personal contact at the Neal S. Blaisdell Center along Ward Avenue.

During the previous “Stay-at-Home / Work-at-Home” emergency order, over 10,000 people signed up for the “Farm to Car” program.


(FILE) Longine fishing boats as seen from Pier 38, where the world-renowned Honolulu Fish Auction is located. (Photo by Alfred Acenas, EBC Hawaii Bureau, Eagle News Service)


(With reports from EBC Hawaii Bureau, Eagle News Service)