Friends of Kona Pacific Public Charter School will host a groundbreaking ceremony to launch the construction of the new West Hawaii Community Kitchen at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, December 19th. The project is a joint collaboration between Friends and Kona Pacific Public Charter School, which is located on the same 38-acre parcel of land where the new kitchen will be built. The ceremony will be officiated by Kumu Keala Ching, who also serves as a Friends board member.
Friends is a nonprofit corporation, founded in 2006 as an affiliated support organization for Kona Pacific Public Charter School (Kona Pacific). Together, Friends and Kona Pacific have created economic and social development for our community via a number of educational, agricultural and Hawaiian cultural initiatives that generate 40 full time and 25 part time jobs and an operational budget that adds more than $2 million annually to our local economy.
With an expected completion date of May 2019, the new 3,000 sq. ft. community kitchen is comprised of two separate kitchens, one of which will house Kona Pacific’s community foodservice that serves the students of Kona Pacific and other schools, as well as providing critical nutritional support for hundreds of at-risk children and elders. The second kitchen will be used by local farmers for value-added processing, the first such facility to serve West Hawaii’s agricultural community.
The construction of the new $1.9 million facility is funded by two Hawaii legislative CIP grants-in-aid (2015 & 2018), grants from private foundations and state agencies, and an internal capital campaign.
Kona Pacific Public Charter School is widely recognized as a leader in nutrition programs in Hawaii and the school has received numerous awards for its various nutrition programs. The school’s WHOLE Foodservice also developed Hawaii’s first-ever mobile summer lunch program, which has provided more than 30,000 lunches to West Hawaii children at risk for hunger since the program’s launch in 2015.
The design of the value-added processing kitchen for local farmers was based on a series of scoping meetings with the West Hawaii agricultural community and will be furnished with kitchen equipment selected to optimize the effectiveness of the kitchen for the use of West Hawaii farmers and the produce they grow.