State Rep. John Mizuno and the senior pastor of Hawaii Cedar Church this morning helped distribute food to more than 300 homeless residents in Kalihi.
The event, a partnership between Mizuno, chair of the House Health Committee, and Senior Pastor Duk Whan Kim, distributed more than 1,000 gallons of fresh milk, along with vegetables, canned goods and baked goods to the homeless in the church’s parking lot.
Mizuno said it was important not to forget that the homeless are the most vulnerable during the pandemic.
“With the COVID-19 pandemic, we see how many people are at various food donations throughout the state,” said Mizuno. “I support that. Nonetheless, what happens with the homeless? Do they fall off the radar? At the end of the day, we still have our homeless, and our poor, who are hungry and needy. This COVID-19 pandemic has made it worse for them. I’m glad we were able to do this event and not forget about those in poverty.”
Unlike many recent events where long lines of vehicles participate in a drive-thru format to pick up food donations, homeless residents today walked up to tents with reusable bags or rolling carts because many take the bus. Some rolled up in wheelchairs, said Mizuno.
Mizuno said he hoped other churches and businesses would support their homeless community as well. He hopes to organize another food distribution event for the homeless in another few weeks.
“It was a very good event,” he said. “If anything, this was a start. We’ve got to do this again.”
In 2019, the state’s Point in Time Count identified 6,448 homeless people across the islands. Hawaii in 2019 lost its rank as the state with the nation’s worst per capita rate of homelessness. New York took that top spot.
Hawaii Cedar Church on Kamehameha IV Road provides shelter to 75 homeless people without any government support, according to Kim.
“We support a large number of homeless families with children,” said Kim in a news release. “We are grateful that today’s food donation to Hawaii’s homeless was well received and we are hopeful to continue this effort now and after the pandemic.”