17 June 2020

Food for Grandfamilies

Maui Extension pairs elders and food trucks for meals and education

Food for Grandfamilies

Grandfamilies, or grandparents who are primary caregivers for their grandchildren, are especially vulnerable during COVID-19. They’re a high-risk group, often living on fixed incomes.

At the same time, food truck owners, like all restaurateurs, have been hit hard by the shutdown. But on Maui, CTAHR’s Intergenerational Extension has found a way to bring the two groups together to help each other.

Extension has teamed up with UH Maui College, UH Foundation, Maui County Office on Aging, Maui Food Technology Center, and Kamehameha Schools to bring food and education to grandfamilies and kūpuna in Maui County during the pandemic. Owners of food trucks are coordinating with the Maui Food Technology Center to provide meals daily, from June to August, to families who are participating in the Intergenerational Extension programs GRANDcares, ‘Ohana Garden & Grindz, and Powerful Tools for Caregivers, as well as kūpuna who are registered with the Maui County Office on Aging.

The project served 186 meals to 62 individuals in 13 households in the first week alone. By the third week, it jumped to 350 meals.

The grandfamilies and other food-truck customers also receive educational materials developed by Extension faculty, including the Extension COVID-19 Communications Team. Topics include nutrition, food safety, cooking with keiki, dealing with kitchen waste, CSAs, self-care, stress management, and much more. They’re also at CTAHR’s Emergency Response Website .

Maui County Office on Aging will match private support dollar for dollar, and hopes to expand the program. Kamehameha Schools’ Maui Regional Office was the first funder to generously donate to this initiative, followed quickly by Hawaii Community Foundation. UH Maui College continues to work with other potential funders.

The food trucks with Maui Food Technology Center have quickly adapted to the pandemic by providing contactless delivery of prepared meals: only online and phone orders, delivery to a car’s roof or hood, designated staff to handle money, and regular handwashing.

Learn more: contact Heather Greenwood-Junkermeier at heather8@hawaii.edu.

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