As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to upend our lives, many Maui residents are pitching in to make sure their fellow community members are safe, healthy and nourished.

Deanna Davis of Elite Pacific Properties is one of them.

Davis is the Maui committee chair of the Hawaii State AFL-CIO Labor Community Services Program, which works to unite organizations, working people and resources to build a healthier community. Earlier this month, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Labor Community Services Program partnered with food banks statewide to distribute food “drive-through-style” to people in need. When she was asked to help coordinate the effort on Maui in partnership with the Maui Food Bank, Davis didn’t hesitate to say yes. “It was a no brainer,” she said. “Especially in these unknown times when I know people are going to need food.”

For the past few weeks, the Labor Community Services Program has helped purchase food for the Maui Food Bank and coordinated the weekly distributions at designated locations in Kihei, Lahaina and Central Maui. At each drive-through site, food recipients stay inside their vehicles while volunteers load boxes filled with produce, bread and other items into their trunks. The distributions begin at 9 a.m. and run for a few hours or until all of the boxes are gone. Within three weeks, Davis said she and her fellow volunteers had distributed more than 1,800 boxes. “We are also working on delivering food to diabetes patients who shouldn’t be going out to the stores,” she said.

This isn’t the first time the Labor Community Services Program has worked alongside the Maui Food Bank. “We have an ongoing food basket affiliation throughout the year,” Davis said.

And it’s not the first time Davis has rolled up her sleeves to help others. “I’ve been on many boards and committees… it’s in my blood,” she said. “I’ve been on the Labor Community Services Program committee for several years. We do labor of love projects, like school supply drives and slipper drives… and we did the Women Helping Women shelter renovation project when I was also Maui United Way’s board chair.”

The weekly distributions are dependent on the Maui Food Bank’s food supply. With more donations, Davis says the program can continue in the weeks to come. “Donate if you can and note that it is for the food distribution boxes,” she said. “Contact me if you want to volunteer at the distributions.”

In the midst of this unprecedented health crisis, the need for food assistance cannot be overstated. Every month, the Maui Food Bank serves 10,000 food-insecure people countywide (including the rural communities of Hana, Molokai and Lanai). Now, more than ever, food and monetary donations are needed to help feed families, children and youth, seniors, the homeless—anyone who is at risk of going hungry.

You can provide hunger relief for those in need by making a food or monetary donation. You can also shop for food donations online through a virtual food drive. To learn more about the Maui Food Bank or to inquire about donor opportunities, visit www.mauifoodbank.org or call 243-9500. To take part in the virtual food drive, visit https://mauifoodbank.org/virtual-food-drive/. To learn more about the Labor Community Services Program food distribution effort or to view upcoming distribution sites, visit https://lcsp84.wixsite.com/website. For more information about volunteering, contact Davis at 357-9774 or deanna@elitepacific.com.

The Maui News – April 27, 2020

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