Ten thousand men, women and children. That’s how many people are served by the Maui Food Bank every month. Through its network of more than 120 partner agencies and programs, the nonprofit organization collects and distributes food to individuals, families, children, seniors, the homeless—anyone who is at risk of going hungry. The Maui Food Bank provides nourishment to anyone who needs it, regardless of circumstance. And for many, it is a vital lifeline.

That’s why a group of Realtors Association of Maui (RAM) members stepped up to help last November. “The Maui Food Bank is a great organization and they help fill a great need in our community,” said Kim Insley-Morrell of Coldwell Banker Island Properties. “They need all the help they can get.”

Insley-Morrell was one of several RAM members who sponsored a food booth at a movie night fundraiser for the Maui Food Bank at Hope Chapel on Sunday, Nov. 18. She was joined by Lydia Pedro and Alana Rucynski of Wailea Realty Corp. A Boutique of Windermere Real Estate, Stephanie Dutcher of Keller Williams Realty Maui, Kandi O’Brien of Discover Maui Property, Inc., and Dave and Kathy Englert of Rentals Maui Inc. They created their own menus, supplied the ingredients, and prepared and served their delectable dishes to movie night attendees. “It was great that so many Realtors supported this event,” Englert said.

It all started when Toni Spence, director of Children’s Ministries at Hope Chapel, decided to coordinate a free “red carpet” premiere showing of “Marrying Father Christmas.” Based on the novels of award-winning Maui author Robin Jones Gunn, the “Father Christmas” film series is an American/Canadian trilogy broadcast on the Hallmark Movies & Mysteries cable channel (as part of its “Miracles of Christmas” seasonal programming). “Marrying Father Christmas” is the most recent installment in the trilogy—following “Finding Father Christmas” in 2016 and “Engaging Father Christmas” in 2017—and was the Hallmark Movies & Mysteries channel’s most-watched original movie premiere to date. The event was free, but all of the 325-plus attendees were asked to bring a five-pound bag of rice for the Maui Food Bank’s Holiday Meals distribution.

Move night attendees also purchased menu items at the RAM member-manned booths. And just like “Marrying Father Christmas,” the food booth fundraiser for the Maui Food Bank had a very happy ending: it raised enough to provide 10,000 meals to food-insecure individuals and families in Maui County.

“I was happy to offer financial support by supplying the food that was being sold at my booth to benefit Maui Food Bank,” said Insley-Morrell. “A friend of mine flew in from California just to come see the movie and meet Robin Gunn and she also worked at my booth.”

Englert says she and her Rentals Maui Inc. employees were thrilled to participate in the food booth fundraiser. “We had a great time cooking and serving prime rib sliders to the attendees…it really bonded us as a team,” she said. “I have read Robin’s books and I am a big fan of hers—I was excited to see the premiere of her new Hallmark movie. I am also a huge fan of the Maui Food Bank. We are so fortunate to have this organization on Maui.”

Insley-Morrell agrees wholeheartedly. “Giving back to those less fortunate is a real blessing,” she said. “It is a part of my life to give back in a variety of ways through different organizations here on Maui.

That’s why she encourages others to consider supporting the Maui Food Bank in any way they can. “Don’t think about it—just do it,” she said. “No fundraiser is too small…every bit helps.”

You can provide hunger relief for those in need by making a monetary donation or holding a food drive at your business, school, place of worship, community service club or in your neighborhood anytime of the year. To learn more about the Maui Food Bank or to inquire about donor or volunteer opportunities, visit www.mauifoodbank.org or call 243-9500.

By Sarah Ruppenthal
The Maui News – February 9, 2019

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