Iao UCC’s Food Distribution Ministry in 2020

Iao UCC’s Food Distribution Ministry in 2020 during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Shortly after the start of the shelter-in-place period during early April, Iao UCC sprang into gear and started its Food Distribution Ministry to members of the community—not just to those in our Maui Kosrae Etawi and to our church members but to individuals and families in the wider Maui community, where food insecurity is rising due to economic consequences from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Church members and friends drop off food items (as well as bathing and personal hygiene sundries for folks in the houseless community) at designated boxes in the church’s upper parking lot. They also drop off used/recyclable brown paper grocery bags, which have come in very handy! Financial contributions of cash and checks arrive at the church office as well, and with these monies Pastor Tino goes to COSTCO on grocery shopping runs, in preparing for the weekly distribution campaign. He also goes to the Maui Food Bank to pick up food supplies—via our partnership with the MFB, Pastor Tino was able to get Iao UCC to be a certified food distribution site for The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) of the USDA.
Our friends at Hale Kau Kau at St. Theresa’s in Kihei also come by weekly to drop off food supplies.

The church’s largest donations of food comes from our community partner, the Queen Liliuokalani Trust— almost every week since early June a truck comes by early on Wednesday morning, and makes a delivery. These have included boxes of hams, fresh produce, frozen chicken patties, and more. The photos below show Pastor Tino and the volunteer team—women from the Micronesian community organized by Youlida Yoruw and young men of the church’s Youth group—engaging in the food processing and packaging sessions, at various weeks over the past couple of months.

After the food has been packaged into individual shopping bags or boxes, these are loaded into the trucks or cars of the Yoruw boys (mahalo, Sonny and Jack!) and the Micronesian ladies (kulo!) and they deliver them to folks on the distribution list (including our church and Preschool staff members). Cash for gas is provided to the drivers, from funds in the church’s Witnessing/Reconciling/Outreach community budget. In this way, food has been shared and distributed to dozens of families and individuals each week over the last couple of months, and will continue to be, for the foreseeable future.

Mahalo to all our church members and friends, our community partners, and especially to these wonderful volunteers from the church’s Micronesian community (Kosraens and Pohnpeians) organized by our tireless “Bridge Builder” Youlida Yoruw, and to our awesome Iao UCC youth:

Serah Elley, Jaydee Hadley, Simiko Hiram, Branda Jim, Miter Jim, Joan Livaie, Fausto Livaie, Nena Seymour, Canzy Silbanuz, Jack Yoruw, Joshua Yoruw, Sonny Yoruw, Youlida Yoruw