Update, Oct. 16: The remaining dates of distribution are Oct. 17, 24, and 30.
In an effort to ensure students are nourished, healthy, and thriving, the University of Hawai‘i–West O‘ahu is offering free, fresh produce — available for students to pick up while supplies last from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Mondays and Tuesdays throughout October at the Nāulu Center.
UH West O‘ahu is participating in a pilot program with UH Mānoa Student Life & Development’s Food Vault Hawai‘i program, which addresses food insecurity. Food Vault Hawai‘i has a partnership with Aloha Harvest, the largest food rescue and redistribution organization in Hawai‘i, to recover unsold produce and bread from designated sites.
UH West O‘ahu’s designated site is the Hawai‘i Farm Bureau’s Mililani Farmers’ Market, which operates Sundays at Mililani High School.
“As part of this program, we commit to recovering whatever the farmers’ market vendors would like to donate,” said Dr. Jan Javinar, specialist faculty in student affairs at UH West O‘ahu. “On Monday mornings, a team volunteers to pre-bag the goods working to ensure that there’s an equitable mix of items in each bag, given that Sunday’s recovery.”
The first week’s offerings, for example, included items such as kale, papaya, and various breads.
“Needless to say, the students were appreciative of the free produce,” Javinar said.
The pilot project was initially launched for October at UH West O‘ahu by volunteer staff, faculty, and students who work in student affairs, Javinar noted.
“We are the 10th and final campus of our UH System campuses to establish a pilot test food recovery and distribution program for the month of October, after which time we will assess,” he said.
The remaining dates of distribution this month at UH West O‘ahu are Oct. 17, 24, and 30. UH West O‘ahu students who pick up produce must present their UH ID card or UH username.