KMO and Salvation Army Pack Lunches for Kids

September 30, 2022

Volunteers from the Keꞌehi Memorial Organization gathered at the Kauluwela Corps Community Center on Septenber 20, 2023 to help the Salvation Army pack lunch bags for children attending local schools. The bagged meals were made possible through a $15,000 grant from KMO in response to a request for financial assistance from the Salvation Army in August.

The Kauluwela Corps Community Center offers the Salvation Army Meals (SAM) Backpack Program to alleviate food insecurity and its negative impacts on childhood health, development and school readiness.The program distributes a weekend supply of nutritious, easy-to-prepare food to 200 at-risk students at Kauluwela, Likelike and Royal Elementary Schools throughout the school year.

The SAM Backpack Program provides an important safety net for participating children, many of whom are economically disadvantaged, residing in urban Honolutu’s public housing complexes, whose families are struggling with food insecurity. By ensuring that young students at risk of chronic stress due to hunger have access to food, the SAM Backpack Program will address the social determinants of health in our state where one in four of Hawaii’s children suffers from hunger.

Based on the effectiveness of other backpack weekend hunger relief programs throughout the nation, the Hawaii program is expected to contribute positively to the well-being, school attendance, behavior and academic achievement of participants.

The SAM Backpack Program has a track record of sucess, with a total of 86% of teachers surveyed reporting they “loved the program. One teacher reported attendance in her classroom improved as a direct result of food distribution through the program. Many other teachers reported on the positive impact the program was having on the morale of participating students.

The $15,000 grant from the Keꞌehi Memorial Organization to the Salvation Army meal program is in keeping with KMO’s purpose to support At-Risk Youth in the communities that include Kauluwela, Likelike, and Royal Elementary Schools.