Hawaiian Airlines Foundation Awards Grant to Heʻeia Nonprofit to Support Food Security

HONOLULU (August 4, 2022) – The Hawaiian Airlines Foundation has awarded a $100,000 grant to Kākoʻo ʻŌiwi, a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing the cultural, spiritual and traditional practices of the Native Hawaiian community. The grant will fund the construction of a wash and pack facility in Heʻeia that will be used to process crops grown in the Kaneohe region including kalo (taro), ʻulu (breadfruit), ʻuala (sweet potato), and hōʻiʻo (warabi).

“Supporting local agriculture is a critical issue for our economy and the well-being of our communities. Hawaiian Airlines has made bold commitments to purchasing more locally grown products, but we also need to eliminate the obstacles that prevent small farmers from bringing their produce to market,” noted Avi Mannis, chief marketing and communications officer of Hawaiian Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines Foundation president.

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“For many years, our Team Kōkua employee volunteers have helped Kākoʻo ʻŌiwi restore wetlands and farmland. We’ve been impressed with the work the organization has done to advance land stewardship, sustainable agriculture, and community farming. We’re delighted to partner with them in building this community asset that will enable small farmers in the region to pack and distribute their crops,” he added.

Team Kōkua volunteers have participated in Kākoʻo ʻŌiwi workdays since 2011 and recently increased activities to once a month to enhance support of the nonprofit.

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The Hoʻolauana Wash Pack Station will be built on the 405-acre site leased by Kākoʻo ʻŌiwi, within the Heʻeia wetlands. The 4,000-square-foot station outfitted with washing tumblers and wash tubs is scheduled for completion by the end of the year. Area farmers will be able to process their produce at the facility to the standard required for retail and wholesale distribution.

“We truly appreciate and are humbled by all the support we’ve received from Hawaiian Airlines over the years. Hundreds of airline employees and their families have worked our loʻi, helping to restore wetland kalo agriculture that was once prevalent in the area,” said Jonathan Kanekoa Kukea Shultz, executive director of Kākoʻo ʻŌiwi. “The generous grant from the Foundation will enable us to advance our efforts to revive the region’s rich agricultural heritage and support farmers who are carrying on family traditions.”

Kākoʻo ʻŌiwi is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation established in 2006 to perpetuate the culture and practices of Native Hawaiians. In 2010, Kākoʻo ʻŌiwi acquired a 38-year lease from the State of Hawaiʻi Community Development Authority to implement Māhuahua ʻAi o Hoi (“Replanting the Fruit of Hoi”), a community-driven vision for the Heʻeia wetlands site.

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“The meaning of hoʻolauana is increasing, growing, sprouting leaves and friendship. We believe all of these characteristics will be embodied in the new wash pack station,” said Kumu Frank Kawaikapuolakalani Hewett, a lifelong Heʻeia resident who named the new facility.

Funded by Hawaiian Airlines, the Hawaiian Airlines Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable arm of the carrier that provides monetary support to programs that benefit the community. Focus areas include programs that seek to improve student achievement in Hawai‘i, perpetuate Hawaiian cultural knowledge and awareness, and protect and preserve ecosystems throughout the state.

B-Roll Link: https://f.io/-NRs1iE_

B-Roll Log

00:00-02:23 Interviews

02:24   Rendering of the new wash pack station

02:29   Site of the new wash pack station

02:47   Team Kōkua volunteers at Kākoʻo ʻŌiwi


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A longstanding supporter of local agriculture and food production, Hawaiian has pledged to increase its sourcing of locally made food and beverages for its Hawaiʻi-based catering operation to 40% by 2025. The airline also sponsors programs and events that showcase Hawaiʻi-grown products such as the Hawaiʻi Food & Wine Festival, Hawaiʻi Agricultural Foundation, Hawaiʻi Agricultural and Culinary Alliance, Hawaiʻi Food Industry Association and Mana Up. Team Kōkua employee volunteers regularly donate time to support sustainable agriculture and environmental conservation efforts along with cultural initiatives and programs that provide care to our most vulnerable community members.

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