Giving Compass' Take:

• A Hawaii-based nonprofit called Aloha Harvest is combatting food security during COVID-19 by working with local farmers, ranchers, fishers, to distribute healthy food. 

• How can donors support local efforts such as this one? Are there opportunities in your community to invest in food distribution? 

• Learn more about investing in food technology to address COVID-induced food insecurity.

Aloha Harvest, a Hawaii-based nonprofit, is diverting food that would otherwise be wasted to combat food insecurity during COVID-19.

Roughly one in five Hawaii residents are food insecure, according to U.S. census data collected in July 2020.  And since the pandemic began more than 250,000 Hawaii residents have filed for unemployment, further contributing to food insecurity.

Aloha Harvest is the recipient of a grant from ReFED, an organization that analyzes solutions to food waste. The ReFED COVID-19 Food Waste Solutions Fund is helping organizations meet the increased demand for food assistance and decrease food waste during the pandemic.

“The ReFED grant is helping us to scale the impact of our mission,” Phil Acosta, Executive Director of Aloha Harvest, tells Food Tank. “We are able to add to our staff and fleet; support our local economy by purchasing local produce, fish, [and] other goods; and expand our food rescue and distribution efforts.”

Aloha Harvest is working directly with local farmers, ranchers, fishers, and distributors to get nutritious food to those in need around Hawaii. Staff and volunteers pick up excess food and redistribute it to food banks and other food agencies.

Since the onset of COVID-19, Aloha Harvest has processed nearly triple the amount of food compared to this time last year, says Acosta. To keep up with increased demand, they have increased their staff and expanded their work space to include a commercial kitchen and a warehouse equipped with dry and cold storage.

Read the full article about Hawaii nonprofit Aloha Harvest by Hannah Schlueter at Food Tank.