April 16th, 2020 / posted by paularath

The doors of the iconic Rath Building are shut right now, but important work is going on behind the scenes.

Palama Settlement has been providing social services to our neighbors for 124 years. The Settlement is often called upon to perform extraordinary duties in extraordinary times. In 1918, our Pa Ola Camp was turned into a hospital for Spanish Flu patients. During WWII, our campus was transformed into a field hospital by the Army.

Today I saw two more examples of the exemplary services we are providing during another time of crisis, the coronavirus.

Although our athletic and educational programs have been, by necessity, put on hold, our Palama campus has become a food distribution center. From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day, our Community Development Department is busy preparing and distributing bags of groceries from our Emergency Food Pantry. The needs have risen radically and we, like the Hawaii Food Bank, are having difficulty keeping up with the demands.

Toward the end of a long day, Palama employees stand ready to deliver meals.

Our neighborhood keiki are able to receive breakfast and lunch at nearby public schools, but many were going without an evening meal. So this week, Palama began serving a grab and go supper to needy families. The meals are made by Kapiolani Community College and served up by Palama employees.

Donna keeps track of who is in need, and just how much.

Program Administrator Donna Taniguchi has put together a team of staff and volunteers to deliver meals to grab and go clients. The first day, we gave away all 75 meals within 30 minutes. The next day, we upped the number of meals to 125, and they were fast dwindling within a matter of minutes.

We will do the very best we can to meet the needs of our community.

For more about Palama Settlement in the time of coronavirus, or to make a donation, please go to www.palamasettlement.org 

Paula Rath

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