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MEO receives $150,000 award for fresh food program

By Staff | Sep 10, 2021

WAILUKU — Maui Economic Opportunity Inc. received a $150,000 award for a fresh food voucher program that will support the Native Hawaiian community through the Office of Hawaiian Affairs’ (OHA) COVID-19 Impact and Response Grant.

‘Ai Hua will help to reinforce and strengthen Native Hawaiians’ ohana and the health of the lahui.

With the $150,000 OHA award, MEO will provide vouchers to Native Hawaiian families who were affected by COVID-19 that can be used at local farmers’ markets to purchase local fresh fruits, vegetables and protein foods.

The program will benefit both the Native Hawaiian families who receive the vouchers for the produce, as well as the local farmers who grow the products for the farmers’ markets.

The program period is for one year, beginning Nov. 1. “MEO welcomes the opportunity to work with the Office of Hawaiian Affairs to bring fresh fruits, vegetables and proteins to the Native Hawaiian community,” said Debbie Cabebe, MEO CEO.

“This program is patterned after our successful Seniors Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program for kupuna and offers the opportunity for MEO to extend its reach to the Native Hawaiian community in partnership with OHA.

“‘Ai Hua is a win-win for Native Hawaiians, who will receive coupons to purchase fresh food that can sometimes be outside the budgets of some ohana, and for sustainability and agriculture in Maui County. We thank OHA for allowing MEO to further our mission of Helping People. Changing Lives.”

The purpose of the ‘Ai Hua program is to serve the Native Hawaiian lahui in alignment with the strategic foundations, directions and outcomes of the 15-year Mana I Mauli Ola Strategic Plan.

This project is sponsored by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, working to improve the lives of Native Hawaiians.

For more information about the program, contact the MEO Community Services Department at 249-2970.