More than 500 elder advocates gathered at the state Capitol in Honolulu on March 29 for a rally supporting the AARP Drive to End Hunger. The event brought in more than 2,500 lbs. of rice for Lanakila Meals on Wheels to help meet the rising demand for senior meals. One in ten Hawaii residents age 60+ is at risk of hunger.
Governor Neil Abercrombie attended the gathering along with about 25 state legislators – including half the members of the Senate and a third of the House. Together, they formed a rice brigade transferring rice to a waiting vehicle. Also attending was Kailua resident Mae Mendelson, chair of the AARP Foundation Board and an official spokesperson for the Drive to End Hunger.
Though the state is wrestling with serious budget challenges, the event reminded everyone that the demand for safety net services increases during economic hard times. AARP Hawaii is asking legislators and the governor to support Kupuna Care by supporting HB 160, HD2, SD1 and appropriating the requested $3.5 million from the general fund.
“AARP would like to thank Governor Abercrombie, our legislators and community advocates for supporting the Drive to End Hunger and participating in the Kupuna Rally,” said AARP Hawaii State Director Barbara Kim Stanton. “The home delivery of meals to seniors is an essential part of Kupuna Care, which provides food, medical assisted transit, bathing and chore services for frail and home-bound Hawaii seniors, who would otherwise be forced into nursing institutions prematurely at three times the cost.”
Kupuna Care helps address the need for affordable home and community based long-term care services that help people remain at home for as long as possible as they age. It provides an important safety net that helps middle-income adults avoid sinking into poverty and being forced into more costly institutional care settings.
View photos from the Drive to End Hunger rally and a video of the governor’s remarks online.