In Hawaiʻi, nearly 20% of the population depends on assistance from food pantries. Rylan Tegtmeyer Hawke, the Random Acts Regional Representative for Hawai’i, wanted to find a way to help the Aloha Harvest food rescue organization in its mission to fight food insecurity.
Hungering to Help
After moving to the island of Hawai’i, the high cost of quality food surprised Rylan. In Hawai’i, statistics show that the cost of perishable items such as meat and eggs rose nearly 17% in 2021. The fact that most supplies, including food, must be imported to the island contributed to that increase. Rylan knew that friends and neighbors were struggling to afford fresh, healthy alternatives to overly processed packaged foods.
Fortunately, Rylan learned about Aloha Harvest. Aloha Harvest partners with groceries, wholesalers, and tourist destinations to collect and redistribute food that would otherwise go to landfills. In Hawai’i, more than 25% of food from resorts and restaurants is wasted or disposed of. This amounts to about $1 billion annually, or $700 per person. Since 1999, Aloha Harvest has rescued nearly 30 million pounds of food for distribution to residents all over Hawai’i.
Kindness to Go
Rylan reached out to Aloha Harvest to find out if there was a way they could help. Surprisingly, that help was not in the form of the food itself. It was in the trays, bottles, and containers needed to get the food where it was going.
“They cited a need for food storage and transport materials,” explains Rylan. “What they need most is help with transportable and disposable food storage.” Rylan went straight to their local party supply store, where they knew they could find the proper equipment.
Phil Acosta, Executive Director of Aloha Harvest, met with Rylan to pick up the food storage and transport supplies. Phil confirmed that the distribution teams “go through these supplies very quickly, so any amount helps.”
Expanding the Harvest
Aloha Harvest follows the model of City Harvest, a food rescue organization founded in New York City in 1982. These and other organizations fight food insecurity alongside the national organization Feeding America. Individuals across the United States struggling for healthy food options can reach out to these organizations to locate a local food bank.
Aloha Harvest’s impact on food insecurity in Hawai’i encouraged Rylan. “Knowing there is so much food wasted while there are people struggling to afford to eat frustrated me,” they admit, “but seeing someone rescue this food and redistribute it? It was nice to know something like that exists here.”
Local Acts Add Up to Global Good
Do you have an idea for an act of kindness in your own community? Random Acts can help with that! Contact your local Random Acts Regional Representative for information on Sponsored Acts or any other help you need to turn your idea into a reality.