HONOLULU (KHON2) – The American Heart Association and the Hawaii Foodbank are working together to improve the nutritional quality of food offered by the Foodbank.
The two agencies are working with downtown Honolulu businesses to collect healthy food items from Dec. 4-Dec. 18.
"Healthy eating is one of the keys to maintaining a healthy heart and brain," said Arnold Martines, Executive Vice President, Commercial Markets at Central Pacific Bank, and longstanding volunteer with the AHA's Hawaii Division. "The Healthy Food Drive will help to make healthy options more accessible to underserved populations reached by the Hawaii Foodbank. The initiative is also a humbling reflection of Hawaii's collaborative spirit, and I'm pleased and grateful for the outstanding response we've received from the Downtown Honolulu community."
The AHA worked with its science staff to identify healthier options and substitutions for popular items currently offered by the Hawaii Foodbank to its clients.
For instance, for rice, pasta, bread and crackers, the AHA suggests substituting whole grain, low sodium options, and to opt for brown or hapa rice.
For canned fruits, the AHA suggests options that are canned in their own juices and not syrup.
For canned vegetables, look for products with the least amount of salt.
The AHA is offering materials to help guide food donors in making healthier selections.
Its volunteers will also work with Foodbank clients to offer heart-healthful recipes and to demonstrate how to blend the healthier food options into local-style diets.
"We are grateful to partner with American Heart Association to provide a strong and healthy voice for Hawaii's hungry," said Hawaii Foodbank President and CEO Ron Mizutani. "Hunger can be a temporary issue, or it can be chronic and a result of the causes of malnutrition. It is not enough to provide families in need with food, we want families to have access to a healthy variety of foods. American Heart Association is helping us change the conversation."
To kick off the push for healthier Hawaii Foodbank donations, the AHA and the Hawaii Foodbank are working with business partners in the downtown Honolulu area to collect healthy food items from Dec. 4 -18.
The AHA's healthy food option flyers will be distributed to employees in participating business buildings who are then encouraged to purchase and donate items using the AHA guidance.
Customers visiting those office buildings are also encouraged contribute healthy food items.
Participating office buildings and businesses include: Alakea Corporate, Alii Place, Central Pacific Plaza, Finance Factors, Hawaii National Bank, Morgan Stanley, Alexander & Baldwin and Hawaiian Telcom (public drop off location).
About the American Heart Association
The American Heart Association is a leading force for a world of longer, healthier lives. With nearly a century of lifesaving work, the Dallas-based association is dedicated to ensuring equitable health for all. We are a trustworthy source empowering people to improve their heart health, brain health and well-being. We collaborate with numerous organizations and millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, advocate for stronger public health policies, and share lifesaving resources and information. Connect with us on heart.org, Facebook, Twitter or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.
About the Hawaii Foodbank
The Hawaii Foodbank, in partnership with the food industry and community, serves as a link between charities and those in need of food assistance including the elderly, families, children and those facing financial crises each week. Last year, the Hawaii Foodbank distributed over 13.7 million pounds of food in Oahu and Kauai, including 3.6 million pounds of fresh produce. The Hawaii Foodbank is a certified member of Feeding America and operates as the official food bank in the State of Hawaii. For more information, visit www.hawaiifoodbank.org or call (808) 836-3600.