On the morning of Saturday, Oct. 19, 89 runners and 39 walkers gathered at St. Theresa’s Church in Kihei for the 4th annual Stomp Out Hunger 5K run and 1-mile walk in Kihei. The event raised $12,105—the most in Stomp Out Hunger’s four-year history—for Hale Kau Kau (“House of Meals”), a program that works to alleviate hunger by providing nutritious meals to the hungry and homebound throughout South Maui.

Founded in 1991 and headquartered at St. Theresa’s Church, Hale Kau Kau serves free dinners unconditionally—no questions asked—to anyone who comes to the kitchen at meal time. Hale Kau Kau also delivers meals to elderly, ill and disabled homebound individuals 365 days a year—rain, shine or otherwise—and distributes food baskets and emergency food supplies to families in crisis. Since July, Hale Kau Kau has prepared and delivered 25 dinners twice a week to the Maui Family Life Center, and in partnership with the Ka Hale A Ke Ola Homeless Resource Center in Lahaina, has donated 42 meals twice a week to sheltered residents who don’t have kitchens in their temporary housing units. The need for Hale Kau Kau cannot be overstated: Since its inception 28 years ago, the organization has served and delivered more than 1.5 million meals to individuals and families in need.

On Thursday afternoons, you’ll find Karin Carlson of NextHome Pacific Properties loading bags full of hot meals into the backseat of her car in the St. Theresa’s Church parking lot. Carlson signed up to be a volunteer driver for Hale Kau Kau in 2004 after learning about the program from Hale Kau Kau co-founder Kathy Worley of Pali Kai Realtors. In 2018, Carlson joined Hale Kau Kau’s advisory board and continues to hit the road on Thursdays to deliver hot, nutritious meals to those in need.

2019-20 Realtors Association of Maui (RAM) President Mike Trotto of Pali Kai Realtors has been a volunteer driver for Hale Kau Kau for more than a decade. “As someone who has been involved with this ministry at Saint Theresa, I can say it is so worthy of all of our support,” he said. “These folks are so appreciative for this service. Many of them live alone and the daily deliveries of a meal is so very important to them.”

Both Carlson and Trotto participated in this year’s Stomp Out Hunger fundraiser. Trotto laced up his sneakers and took part in the 1-mile walk; Carlson volunteered as a course marshal on the 5K route, taking on the all-important task of ensuring the runners didn’t miss the turn from West Lipoa Street onto South Kihei Road.

Carlson and Trotto encourage others to support Hale Kau Kau in any way they can. Drivers are needed to deliver meals between 4 and 5:30 p.m. seven days a week. On any given day, Hale Kau Kau needs four to six kitchen volunteers; they typically serve meals between 1:30 and 6:30 p.m. on weekdays and 1 to 6 p.m. on weekends. Hale Kau Kau relies on grants and private donations to keep its programs running, so cash donations are always welcome. The same goes for food donations, which can be dropped off in the St. Theresa parish office between 8:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. on weekdays or the Hale Kau Kau kitchen between noon and 6 p.m. daily.

You can also support Hale Kau Kau by attending one of its upcoming fundraisers: The Mulligans on the Blue golf tournament on Saturday, Nov. 30; the 21st annual Hale Kau Kau Dinner and Auction on Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020; or the annual St. Patrick’s Day Dinner on Sunday, March 15, 2020.

“It’s heartwarming to know that Hale Kau Kau is not alone in addressing hunger in our Maui community,” said Hale Kau Kau program director Claudine San Nicolas. “We are grateful to the Realtors who have stepped forward to ensure that the homeless, the hungry and the homebound are fed nutritious meals with compassion and aloha.”

To learn more about Hale Kau Kau or to inquire about donor or volunteer opportunities, visit www.halekaukau.org or call (808) 875-8754.

The Maui News – November 4, 2019

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