Mahalo No Ka Mea Ai Program

Mahalo No Ka Mea Ai

Food Security & Resilience Program

Mahalo to the Kohala Center 

for assistance with our 

Mahalo No Ka Mea Ai 

Food Security & Resilience Program! 


About the Full Calabash Fund In Hawai’i:

When a ‘umeke or calabash was full, it was a sign of strong relationships, knowledge, and resource abundance held within our communities. The Full Calabash Fund reminds us of the honor that comes from the generous exchanges of gifts, including time, energy, and food. Although the coronavirus pandemic is an unprecedented event in our lifetimes, the ways we feed our future are still deeply rooted as we craft elegant solutions that strengthen food security and improve community access to healthy and nutritious food. 

Project purpose The Full Calabash Fund is a statewide effort to bolster immediate and long-term community health and resilience by strengthening the vulnerable families and farmers most impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. The Fund, administered by The Kohala Center, strategically directs funding to experienced community-based organizations with strong relationships and local networks to ensure that locally produced food is distributed effectively to resource-constrained individuals and families. 

With support from the Kohala Center, Waimea, Hawaii Island, in partnership with Hoomana and the East Kauai Community, the Hanalei River Heritage Foundation is able to prepare a basket of fresh fruits & vegetables for ohana experiencing hardships!  Every Thursday we meet the Staff of Wirat Farms in Lihue in the morning to pick up the baskets.  We then go out to places in East Kauai to meet families, where we walaau about food, do simple welfare checks, and do what we can to bring comfort and hope!   

Mahalo to Our Funder: The Kohala Center Grant 



Our Project: Mahalo No Ka Mea Ai Program 

Mahalo No Ka Mea Ai Meals Resilience Program has its roots in previous hot meals programs the HRHF did in partnership with other programs at the start of CV19, March 2020, but this is a new initiative. In previous iterations of this program, we were primarily focused on providing hot meals for families in need at the beginning of CV19. That was a time when many people on Kauai were being laid off and did not have income for about 2 months. We did this and other hot meals programs in partnership with restaurants, businesses, and nonprofits on Kauai and Oahu. Over the last 9 months, our nonprofit in partnership with other community nonprofits and groups have provided over 70,000 hot meals for individuals, families, and communities in need on Kauai. 

However, since then, our programs have evolved & we realized that we would like to take a more traditional, community-based approach to solving food security in our community based on the Hawaiian concept of MAHALO NO KA MEA AI, being grateful to our kupuna who left us a food systems legacy as well as abundance of land and water to grow food. We come together as kin and calabash OHANA, in the spirit of MAHALO, gratitude; we partner with AINA FARMERS (produce) to prepare fruit & vegetable baskets for Ohana in East Kauai experiencing hardships.  We also provide some health education and the benefits of eating locally grown fruits & vegetables.  The Mahalo Program is aligned with the major goals and spirit of the Kohala Calabash Food Program based on bringing people together, working with participants to make healthy dishes with with local produce, fostering community resilience, & reconnecting participants to our local and traditional food systems network.