Kohala Center Launches Food Insecurity Program

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Full Calabash Fund. PC: Kaohua Lucas

The Kohala Center earlier this week launched a program to help hungry people and hurting food producers alike.

The Full Calabash Fund, a statewide effort to support vulnerable families and food producers most impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, was set in motion on Tuesday, Nov. 10.

Initially established with support from The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, the Full Calabash Fund will provide grants to Hawaiʻi’s community-based organizations that provide food procured from local farmers, ranchers, and food producers to community members in need. The Fund is administered by The Kohala Center, an independent, community-based nonprofit organization based on Hawai‘i Island.


Grants will be awarded to nonprofit organizations and meal preparation services with deep connections to place and their communities, as well as demonstrated experience working with food-insecure communities in Hawai‘i and regional partners to source, prepare, and distribute food. Grantees must dedicate at least half of awarded funds to purchase agricultural products from Hawai‘i-based farmers, ranchers, and food producers. A portion of funds can be used to support general operating expenses and indirect costs.

Applications are available online at or by calling The Kohala Center at 808-887-6411. The deadline to apply is Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2020, by 5 p.m. HST.

“In Hawai‘i, when a ‘umeke or calabash was full, it was a sign of strong relationships, knowledge, and resource abundance held within our communities,” said Cheryl Ka‘uhane Lupenui, president and CEO of The Kohala Center. “The Full Calabash Fund reminds us of the honor that comes from the generous exchanges of gifts, including time, energy, and food. The ways we feed our future are still deeply rooted as we craft elegant solutions that strengthen food security and improve community access to healthy and nutritious food.”


The Center will leverage its experience in operating statewide grant and loan programs to help grantees identify additional resources that further their capacity to deliver critical nutritional assistance in their communities. As a local initiative administered by food system practitioners with deep knowledge and expertise, this initiative will bring resources and technical assistance to local community-based efforts that nourish our community now and into the future.

Donations to the Full Calabash Fund will be accepted through Dec. 31, 2020. For more information about the Fund, to download an application, or to make a donation, visit The Kohala Center’s website at or contact Nicole Milne at [email protected] or 808-887-6411.

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