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Show Aloha Challenge to keep delivering free meals to seniors

The Show Aloha Challenge, a free-food distribution hui launched in March in response to the new coronavirus crisis, will continue to home-deliver 1,000 chef-prepared, hot meals every weekday to housebound Oahu kupuna through July and beyond, the organization announced Thursday.

The meals are delivered to qualifying seniors in a partnership with Hawai‘i Meals on Wheels and Saint Francis Health Care System.

“We are also delivering 1,100 care packages for our kupuna of toothbrush, toothpaste, etc., delivered with the hot meals,” Michael Gangloff, the organization’s co-founder and president of Mira Image Construction, told the Honolulu Star- Advertiser on Friday.

On Oahu, Show Aloha also will be distributing 1,000 boxes of fresh food a week to families, each box containing 15 pounds of protein and 35 pounds of produce, islandwide. Giveaways of food boxes June 2 at Aloha Stadium and “Keiki Stimulus Packs” on April 26 at La Tour Cafe on Nimitz Highway distributed a total 75,000 pounds of food, Gangloff said.

“As of now we are delivering straight to people’s homes and community centers with my two new Ford Transit Connect fridge units,” Gangloff said. “As of today, we have delivered over 15,000 food boxes and plan on doing around 35,000 more by year’s end.”

He added that the program is expanding to the neighbor islands.

“We are getting a $145,000 donation from HDS (Hawaii Dental Service) Foundation to supply meals to the outer islands, which we will start in a week, and do hot meals to Hilo, Kona, Maui, Kauai, Molokai and Lanai, ordering a total of around 17,000 meals from local restaurants to help them stay open.”

On Wednesday, Show Aloha distributed 500 pounds of fruit, vegetables, protein and milk in 35-pound boxes to families at a pick-up location on Lanai.

Gangloff said the distributions will continue after the pandemic subsides.

“We founded Show Aloha to continue serving residents even after the coronavirus crisis is over, as there are over 16,000 seniors in need of food across Hawaii,” he said, noting that the organization serves those who do not qualify for government- subsidized, home meal delivery programs such as Hawai‘i Meals on Wheels and Lanakila Pacific.

To qualify for Show Aloha meal deliveries, residents must be older than 60, have an underlying condition that puts them at higher risk if they contract COVID-19, and have limited family or other support to prepare meals and/or provide reliable transportation.

Gangloff estimated that the organization has delivered more than 100,000 hot meals and given out more than 1 million pounds of food in all since he and co-founders Lanai Tabura, TV host of “Cooking Hawaiian Style,” and Seiji Aspengren and Corey Correa, owners of Landmark Logistics Corp., launched Show Aloha Challenge.

In addition to providing seniors who are sheltering at home and facing financial strife with nutritious meals prepared by local restaurants, the intent is to help local restaurants and farms survive the coronavirus shutdowns and provide Saint Francis and Meals on Wheels with extra funding by raising donations from a wide range of local businesses, Gangloff said.

“We have various, different donors: they donate to the pool, we give a restaurant x amount of dollars, they cook up x amount of hot meals, it helps keep them going along with the local farms they purchase from,” he said, adding that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service Farmers to Families Food Box Program gives restaurants support for buying from local farms.

Since March, Gangloff said, Show Aloha Challenge has raised more than $1 million to feed Hawaii’s kupuna and provide assistance to Hawaii’s small business community.

Participating restaurants and supporters have included A&G Steaks And Things, Aloha Salads, Big City Diner, Blue Ginger (Lanai), Bob’s Bar-B-Que, Caraval Cafe, Champs Sports Bar & Grill, Elena’s Filipino Food, Kogi Aina, Koa Pancake House, Mad Bene, Maile’s Thai Bistro, lena, Pioneer Saloon, Sugoi Bento, Tin Roof (Maui), Yanagi Sushi and Young’s Fish Market.

Seniors who would like to sign up for the meal delivery service may call St. Francis Healthcare System at 547-6501. For more information visit showalohachallenge.com.

Correction: Seiji Aspengren’s first name was misspelled in an earlier version of this story.

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