Ai Hua fresh food vouchers still available to Native Hawaiian families

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May 31, 2022

Native Hawaiian families that have been financially impacted by or had a member contract COVID-19 are eligible for ‘Ai Hua fresh food vouchers, program coordinator Maui Economic Opportunity said Tuesday, May 31.

The program is funded by a $150,000 Office of Hawaiian Affairs grant and is intended to benefit both Native Hawaiian families who receive vouchers for fresh food and local farmers who provide products for farmers markets.

The vouchers – with a maximum of $150 per household – are issued monthly based on family size for up to four months, or until grant funds are exhausted.

Vouchers can be used at local participating farmers markets and online with Maui Hub (www.mauihub.org) to purchase local fresh fruits, vegetables and protein items.

“ ‘Ai Hua is a win-win for participants and farmers,” said Assistant Community Services Director Jennifer McGurn, who manages the program. “Participants can use their vouchers to obtain fresh local foods, including fruits, veggies, herbs, eggs, honey and meat.”

McGurn noted that locally grown food is fresher and generally healthier.

“This program is meant to get people shopping and buying locally to decrease our reliance on imported food and improve the health of the community,” she said.

A fillable application is available online on the MEO website (www.meoinc.org) at https://bit.ly/3HCcrv0. Forms also can be obtained at MEO’s Wailuku office, 99 Mahalani St. Applications can be mailed out to individuals as well.

Eligibility requirements follow:

– At least one household member is Native Hawaiian.
– At least one household member having contracted or financially impacted by COVID-19.
– Residents of Maui Island.

Documentation needed:
– Photo ID of all adults.
– Proof of Native Hawaiian ancestry.
– Recent 1040 or N-11 tax form.

For questions about the program, contact McGurn at MEO by phone at (808) 243-4360 or by email jennifer.mcgurn@meoinc.org.

Tumbaga Enterprises is an ‘Ai Hua participating farm, accepting vouchers for fresh produce. The farm had a table at the farmers market at the Queen Ka‘ahumanu Center on Tuesday, May 31.

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