A letter from the field about our recent visit to Lanakila Pacific
Hawaii may be paradise, but even in paradise 1 in 6 seniors face hunger each day. Lanakila Pacific is helping to solve this problem by providing over 365,000 meals to over 2,200 seniors and individuals with disabilities across Oahu annually through its Lanakila Meals on Wheels program.
The Lanakila Pacific solution is unique because the meals are prepared as part of a program that offers training and work experience for adults with disabilities who may otherwise have difficulty securing a job. Programs provide vocational services through a combination of pre-employment assessments, occupational skills training, practical work experience, job coaching, and essential soft skills in obtaining and maintaining competitive employment. Lanakila Pacific also fosters relationships with local businesses to then open doors and enhance job opportunities for their graduates.
First Foundation Bank got involved with Lanakila Pacific when our CEO, Scott Kavanaugh, was asked to join the board last year. And most recently, a team from our local office visited the facility in Honolulu to learn more about all the great work being done.
We learned that what began 80 years ago in 1939 with Violet Kam, a special education teacher helping people recuperate from tuberculosis, has expanded into a family of programs and social enterprises with thousands of volunteers and supporters, serving over 2,500 seniors and individuals with disabilities every year.
As we reflected on our tour, we were impressed by learning:
- The average Lanakila Meals on Wheels recipient is female, 85 years old, and subsists on income of less than $1,000 a month.
- The passion of graduates of the program was reflected in one gentleman that we observed working on the embroidery machine in Lanakila Custom Products’ enterprise. He is legally blind but can work the equipment better than any sighted trainers.
- The Hale Aina Dining facility serves meals to military service members.
- The unique approach to build independence and promote community inclusion starts with social ventures creating earned revenue for Lanakila Pacific.
There is no question that volunteers are the hearts and hands of Lanakila Pacific! Volunteers make a difference whether they help once a week or once a year, and anyone can offer their support. Here is a link to view their current volunteer opportunities: https://www.lanakilapacific.org/volunteer/
Another way to help Lanakila Pacific is by supporting one of their three social enterprises. In our visits to nonprofits, we don’t often find that the organizations invest in social enterprises as part of their solution. The earned revenue from these ventures strengthens the sustainability of the organization while providing real-world training for employment.
So, if you are in Honolulu and want to get involved in this unique social enterprise component of Lanakila Pacific, please consider hiring:
1. Lanakila Kitchen for your next catering event on Oahu, to provide school and adult meal service and for custom food packaging services: Learn More
2. Ordering your promotional products from Lanakila Custom Products: Learn More
3. Hiring Lanakila Grounds & Custodial Services for grounds maintenance or custodial services: Learn More
With an eye towards building independence by providing meals, occupational skills training, and creating a revenue source through social enterprises, Lanakila Pacific is well positioned to support Hawaii for another 80 years!