As government officials were wrestling with the dilemma of when to reopen tourism, those most affected by the virtual shutdown of travel to Hawaii got a helping hand Friday. More than 320 families received food bundles at Aiea High School at an event sponsored by the Hawaii Lodging & Tourism Association and Aloha Harvest.
Organizers said the food distribution was meant to help furloughed employees in the hospitality industry and their families. Funds for the food came from the association’s #AlohaLater relief campaign, which is selling green “Stay home now/#AlohaLater” ribbons to raise money to benefit hotel workers and first responders.
“While it was wonderful to help so many families, this morning’s food distribution really made plain how many people in our community are still struggling as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said HLTA President and CEO Mufi Hannemann in a statement. “The tourism industry has been among the hardest hit economic sectors, and I spoke with carful after carful of individuals who want to get back to their old jobs as soon as it is safe to do so.”
More food distribution events are planned for around the island in the coming weeks.