A group of Hawaii residents is challenging the community to help kupuna and mom-and-pop businesses struggling during the COVID-19 crisis.
It’s a challenge for challenging times to support ohana.
There are fewer customers inside Pioneer Saloon in Kaka’ako since Honolulu’s Stay-at-Home order went into effect, but a steady stream of pick-up and delivery orders keeps the business afloat.
Now for the next 10 days, the staff have a big takeout order every morning — 60 nutritious bentos for kupuna in Oahu.
“Elderly people who are unable to get out and actually get food for themselves so help out the community and give back, give back whatever we can in return you still stay in business you know so works both ways,” said Kimo Pikadura from Pioneer Saloon.
The eatery is one of 11 Oahu restaurants participating in the Show Aloha Challenge, a grassroots effort that brings mom and pop restaurants together with St. Francis Healthcare System and Meals on Wheels to deliver 7,600 meals today through April 8.
Michael Gangloff, president of Mira Image Construction, came up with the idea last week, putting in his own money, recruiting friends. He raised more than $134,000…. which pays for the food and delivery of 16,000 meals over 25 days. But he says the need is great.
“Our goal is a quarter of a million, we’re halfway there,” Gangloff said. “The restaurants are helping out too. They lowering their price point and giving us the food for cheaper, even though at the worst time possible. So they they’re not benefiting tremendously. They’re helping out too.”
Show Aloha Challenge plans to rotate through participating restaurants to help as many struggling small businesses as they can.
“I’ve been on this mission to save these restaurants, because it’s going to be tough times for them,” said Lanai Tabura, local cooking personality. “We calling it a challenge because we want everyone else to do their part as well. You know, everyone’s sitting at home doing nothing. Now you have a chance to do something for your community.”
The first batch of 11 participating restaurants are:
1. A&G Steaks And Things (Nanakuli)
2. Aloha Salads (Kaimuki)
3. Bob’s Bar-B-Que (Kalihi)
4. Champs Sports Bar & Grill (Kaimuki)
5. Elena’s Filipino Food(Waipahu)
6. Koa Pancake House (Kaimuki)
7. Mad Bene (Kapolei)
8. Maile’s Thai Bistro (Ward)
9. ‘Olena (Kalihi)
10. Pioneer Saloon (Kaka‘ako)
11. Young’s Fish Market (Kalihi)
In addition to cash donations and t-shirt sales, the organizers are looking for drivers who can help deliver meals.
They hope to expand their efforts to neighboring islands, and are working on a similar model on Maui that could start next week.
Organizers say the need is greatest for kupuna who may not qualify for existing meal delivery services. If you know someone who can benefit, call (808) 547-6501.