Bank of Hawaii Food Rescue: Follow the Journey

Bank of Hawaii Food Rescue: Follow the Journey

Ever wonder what Aloha Harvest’s food rescue looks like in action? Here’s one story about rescued food, from donation to delivery.

Chefs from Bank of Hawaii’s Café Blue bring donated food to the Aloha Harvest van

The Bank of Hawaii Meals-To-Go Program

In response to COVID-19, Bank of Hawaii launched the “Bankoh-Meals-To-Go” program in May 2020. This program provides over 1,700 BOH employees one free family meal a week. Café Blue employees as well as chefs from Elite Hospitality and Catering services prepared these meals. Bankoh Meals-To-Go recipients who do not need food are encouraged to give it to someone in need. BOH then donates all leftover meals and ingredients to Aloha Harvest.

Leftover food from the “Bankoh-Meals-To-Go” program ready to be picked up by Aloha Harvest team members

Food Rescue: Bank of Hawaii Calls Aloha Harvest for Help

Bank of Hawaii contacted Aloha Harvest on Thursday night regarding a potential food rescue. They explained there would be leftover food from the Bankoh-Meals-To-Go program Friday. This food was perishable, and needed to be retrieved by noon the next day. However, all Aloha Harvest trucks and drivers were already assigned routes.

The minivan lent by Servco Pacific to expand our rescue capabilities

Servco Van Helps Save 300+ Pounds of Food

Luckily, Servco Pacific had recently loaned Aloha Harvest a van for assisting in our COVID-19 response. A member of our office team volunteered to drive, and headed west to the BOH’s Café Blue location in Kapolei.

An employee from Café Blue Kapolei loads donated produce into the Servco van

Next Stop: Adult Friends of Youth

All donations from the Kapolei BOH Café Blue location went to Adult Friends for Youth. This organization offers counseling and other supportive interventions for at-risk youth in Urban Honolulu. When the Aloha Harvest pulled up to the front door, the teenagers ran to the van and exclaimed: “All of this…for us!?” They peeled back the covers of the trays to find 60 pounds of professionally made, fresh chicken curry. Aloha Harvest staff didn’t even have to lift anything as the kids eagerly carried all the trays and produce themselves back to the agency. We encouraged the youth to bring home leftovers to their families.

The 60+ pounds of food given to Adult Friends for Youth

Next Stop: Bank of Hawaii Downtown – Café Blue

Next, we picked up food donations from the main Bank of Hawaii Café Blue location. When we arrived, the chefs let us know they actually had more donations than originally estimated–over 250 pounds in all!

The chefs gave us several trays of chicken curry, cooked carrots, tofu, cucumbers, carrots, potatoes and many pre-made Meals-To-Go. We were extremely grateful for the donation and the ability to transport this amount of food on short notice.

Chef Dan from the BOH Café Blue team shows how much food was given to Aloha Harvest

Last Stop: Institute for Human Services and Mental Health Kokua

The main recipient of this food was The Institute for Human Services Sumner Men’s Shelter, near downtown Honolulu. This emergency homeless shelter provides 160 men daily sleeping quarters and three meals a day. The donated food was likely more than enough to provide the entire shelter with dinner, and still have leftovers for lunch the next day.

IHS staff member Leonel helps pick up food

After IHS, we dropped off over 20 to-go meals to Safe Haven, a homeless shelter for those with severe mental illness located on Pauahi Street and managed by Mental Health Kokua. They suggested that we give the last three of our chicken curry trays to their group home in Kalihi valley. The Kalihi Valley home was overjoyed to have 25 pounds of fresh food delivered to their doorstep.


Overall, over 300 pounds of food were rescued. This provided at least 280 meals* for those in need and diverted an estimated 640kg of CO2 production that would have taken place if this food was emptied into a landfill (According to the Watch My Waste greenhouse gas calculator).

It takes a village to respond quickly and competently to sudden food rescue missions.  A special thanks to Bank of Hawaii for their continued support, Servco Pacific for their loaned vehicle, and donations by community members that keep Aloha Harvest fully staffed, funded, and ready to respond for those who are most in need.

Want to support rescue missions like these? Consider a tax-deductible donation to Aloha Harvest.

* According to The U.S. Department of Agriculture “What We Eat in America” study (2010-2011).