(BIVN) – A community food share program in Honokaʻa recently marked its third anniversary of service. From the Peace Committee of the Honokaʻa Hongwanji:
Friday, February 18 marked the third anniversary of a robust food program by the Peace Committee of the Honoka‘a Hongwanji Buddhist Temple. “Feeding Our Keiki and Kupuna” is an all-volunteer service, which began in 2019, and has since served some 35,000 meals, and literally TONS of food.
Friday’s hot meal featured fresh-made organic Indian food, lentils cooked in ghee and cauliflower in avocado oil—not too spicy, but packed with fragrant flavor and aloha.
Starting at 4 p.m. every Friday, 250-300 hundred free meals and grocery bags are distributed as folks drive by, and some 3,500 pounds of groceries and produce are distributed or delivered to community kupuna and shut-ins.
The program is based on the ancient concept of the “Langar,” a free, open-to-everyone community meal in the Sikh tradition of India. Langar means “anchor,” and the shared meal, open to all, helps anchor and build community.
“The king would stand in line with the pauper, the poorest with the richest, whole families. It makes no difference,” said organizer Ravi Singh. “In this way everyone prospers. This is not about a meal for poor people, or having someone qualify in some way to get an extra meal. It is about sharing and leveraging resources, building community. Community can solve any problem.”
Organizer Miles Okumura strongly agreed, applauding the small army of 40+ volunteers of all ages who step up to help serve 140 families and others each week.
“Our team has built a depth of leadership,” he says. “Thanks to them, Ravi and I can actually step back and let them operate—which they did for five weeks last year. This is a group effort, a sustainable labor of love. I am particularly proud of the high school students who show up week after week, roll up their sleeves, and get to work.”
Food industry professionals include Chef Sandy Barr-Rivera, former executive chef at Merriman’s Waimea and culinary school instructor, Chef Jim Mackenzie formerly at Waikoloa Hilton, and restaurateur Eric Burkhardt. They also work closely with the Food Basket, as well as local farmers, restaurants and dozens of volunteers.
The Peace Committee says it welcomes donations of time and resources, and you can visit its website to learn more.