Lani meets Kyle
Who we are:
We sustain the health of kūpuna who are living longer lives with chronic, debilitating health conditions. For those who do not qualify for government-funded programs and cannot afford our low-cost option, Hawai’i Meals on Wheels fully sponsors qualified individuals. Throughout the pandemic, we saw a 30% increase in participation in our safety-net program.
What we serve:
We provide home-delivered and medically-tailored meals. We serve individuals with a broad range of health conditions who require therapeutic diets. Working with our clients care providers, we offer chopped, minced, and pureed diets for those who have difficulty chewing or who need renal, diabetic, low sodium, and high calorie meals.
Serving more than just meals:
Hawai‘i Meals on Wheels delivers nutritious meals with a HUGE serving of aloha. I am touched by the many stories of homebound kūpuna whose lives are uplifted by our friendly, caring drivers. Meals in hand, our staff and volunteer team members take the time to get to know each kūpuna. One of these stories from our staff driver, Kyle, continues to inspire us to do the work we do every day. After 15 years as an educator, I was looking forward to a new purpose. In January, I was fortunate to begin working as a driver. My routes cover Honolulu, Aiea, and Pearl City, and it was in town that I met a wonderful kupuna named Lani who made an impression on me. During one of my visits, I noticed Lani looking sullen. I asked if she wanted to say a pule (prayer). 90-year-old Lani lit up and a special connection was formed. During meal drop-offs, I learned more of her story: She was born and raised in Waialua, the granddaughter of Filipino immigrants who came to Hawai‘i to work on a sugar plantation. She grew up with a hanai family and was determined to devote her life to serving others. Proud to be in the first graduating class at Kapiolani Community College, Lani spent a lifetime dedicated to helping others in hospital settings and then later as a teacher.
A year before I met her, Lani had suffered a serious fall. While she was able to make to call for help, it would be a difficult road to recovery. With her children and grandchildren on the mainland, Lani struggled to find caring people who could help with her basic, day-to-day tasks.
“It was such a difficult time in my life. Dozens and dozens of caregivers cycled in and out since my accident,” shared Lani. “Hawai‘i Meals on Wheels became a part of my life at just the right time.”
Today, hot meals are delivered to Lani Monday through Friday by a team of drivers like myself. She is so grateful for the daily human connection. “I love meeting new people. But I’ve lived in this apartment for two years now and know so few neighbors. Kūpuna like me have kept to themselves during the pandemic,” she shared. “After such a lonely season, I’m so thankful for Hawai‘i Meals on Wheels! They bring me so much joy . . . and my meals are delicious!” As a meal delivery driver, getting to know those on my route has been eye-opening. I realized that Hawai‘i Meals on Wheels provides so much more than meals. Clients feel valued, but I gain so much more in return from these visits.