415 kupuna in need receive gift cards from AlohaCare and MEO

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December 30, 2022

More than 400 lower income kupuna on Maui, Moloka‘i and Lana‘i received a special holiday present – a $50 gift card to markets on their islands – through a $20,000 AlohaCare donation that was distributed by Maui Economic Opportunity.

The 415 gift cards were mailed or hand-delivered by MEO last week and are redeemable at Foodland on Maui, Misaki’s and Friendly Market on Moloka‘i and Pine Isle and Richard’s Markets on Lana‘i.

A Foodland discount supplemented the number of gift cards.

“Our goal this holiday season was to partner with nonprofits to make the holidays brighter by giving back to our community, with a special focus on keiki and kupuna,” said Francoise Culley-Trotman, AlohaCare CEO. “We are so thankful that MEO’s wide reach and quick response enabled our donation to help so many seniors throughout Maui County.”

MEO staff on the three islands, who personally distributed some of the cards, shared in the joy of the kupuna, many of whom were on Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program support or receiving subsidies through the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program. Many were surprised to receive the gift cards and grateful for the help.

When health insurance provider AlohaCare approached MEO in early December with the possibility of the large donation, MEO CEO Debbie Cabebe suggested spreading joy among kupuna in need with the gift cards to markets.

“Nothing better than playing Santa Claus for kupuna in need,” said Cabebe. “Through the generosity of AlohaCare, we were able to fill a basic need while spreading some holiday cheer.”

Paul Kawaguchi displays his $50 Foodland gift card, donated by health insurer AlohaCare, with Maui Economic Opportunity’s Maui Planning and Coordinating Council Coordinator Zilpah Kaimiola (right) and specialist Flor Andrion. Kaimiola and Andrion made the rounds of Hale Mahaolu Ekolu on Dec. 21, delivering the gift cards to kupuna residents.

Kay Hansen was one of more than 400 kupuna across Maui County that received $50 gift cards to local markets through a donation by health insurer AlohaCare. Maui Economic Opportunity administered the donation, mailing and hand delivering the cards. Maui Planning and Coordinating Council Coordinator Zilpah Kaimiola (right) and specialist Flor Andrion delivered the cards to Hale Mahaolu Ekolu residents, including Hansen, on Dec. 21.

Shirley Huffman (holding the envelope) was one of the residents of Hale Mahaolu Ekolu who received $50 Foodland gift cards on Dec. 21 from Maui Planning and Coordinating Council Coordinator Zilpah Kaimiola (right) and Flor Andrion. The cards were donated by health insurer AlohaCare.

*About AlohaCare*
AlohaCare is a community-led, nonprofit health plan founded in 1994 by Hawai‘i’s community health centers and is the only local health plan solely dedicated to serving those eligible for Hawaiʻi’s QUEST Integration Medicaid and Medicare program. The nonprofit services over 80,000 Hawaiʻi members and is the state’s second largest Medicaid/Medicare health plan. For more information, visit alohacare.org.

*About Maui Economic Opportunity*
Maui Economic Opportunity, Inc., is a nonprofit agency that’s part of the national Community Action Partnership network, whose goal is to help low income individuals and families and disenfranchised people help themselves and transform their lives. Chartered in 1965, MEO offers more than 40 programs that assist low income people, kupuna, youths, persons with disabilities, immigrants and other disenfranchised individuals countywide. MEO runs the Human Services specialized transportation program for health and dialysis appointments, after-school and youth sports activities and more; and the Maui Bus paratransit system; Head Start preschools and Kahi Kamali‘i Infant Care Center; as well as programs that offer kupuna socialization and information; rent, mortgage and utility assistance; Spanish interpretation and translation; entrepreneurial and financial classes and support, including microloans; inmate reintegration into the community after release; youth drinking, drug, smoking, bullying and suicide prevention; and employment training and placement. For more information about the entire array of programs, visit meoinc.org or call (808) 249-2990.

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