Nourishing families, keiki in ways that matterPosted on Dec 30, 2021 in Capitol Connection, Featured, Main
In a pandemic, what kind of help matters most? For First Lady Dawn Amano-Ige, the answers have been food for families and books for children. The reach of Kaukau 4 Keiki and ‘Ohana Readers — two of the projects she championed over the past year — has been impressive. But what’s even more gratifying, she said, is the way people have come together. “At the end of the day, we’re all here to take care of each other,” said Mrs. Ige. “We’ve learned government can’t do it alone. We need a combination of government agencies and non-profit organizations to get things done and support the community.”
In the summer of 2021, the Kaukau 4 Keiki program provided more than 700,000 meals through weekly boxes of groceries for families in rural areas statewide. The program also supported Hawai‘i farmers by purchasing 469,325 pounds of local produce and investing $1.5 million back into the state’s economy. The hope is to repeat the program next year. Through ‘Ohana Readers, some 7,200 books have been distributed to keiki on Moloka‘i, Lana‘i and Kaua‘i over the past two years, with plans to expand to Kīlauea, Anahola, Hanalei, Wainiha and Princeville on Kaua‘i in 2022.
Looking ahead, Mrs. Ige said planning is under way to mark the 175th anniversary of Washington Place in the spring of 2022. Among the proposed events (contingent on COVID-19 conditions) will be a special exhibit honoring Queen Lili‘uokalani, a Royal Hawaiian Band concert and open house, and a special hula presentation with 4th graders statewide. In the meantime, the public can visit the new Washington Place website at https://washingtonplace.hawaii.gov and take a virtual tour of the historic residence.