Announcements: April 30, 2021

Kaiser donates $90K to fight food insecurity

Kaiser Permanente Hawaii on Monday announced it will award $90,000 for the statewide expansion of DA BUX Double Up Food Bucks program, a partnership between The Food Basket and the Hawaii Good Food Alliance to provide food assistance to low-income households.


The Food Basket is a food distribution agency in Hawaii County, providing hunger relief to its community since 1989. It recently expanded its DA BUX program to all counties throughout the state. DA BUX partners with food retailers to make Hawaii grown fruits and vegetables more affordable for SNAP-EBT cardholders. The program aims to help low-income families, local farmers and Hawaii’s communities.

Participating DA BUX retailers discount their locally grown produce by 50% for customers paying with federal SNAP food dollars. The Food Basket uses DA BUX program funds to reimburse the retailer for their issued discounts to cover the total retail cost of sold produce. These discounts make it easier for families to purchase fresh, local produce and in turn, retailers are able to increase their purchases from local farmers.

The state Legislature recently passed Senate Bill 512 expanding the Hawaii Health Food Incentive Program, also known as the Double Up Food Bucks Program. SB512 removes the $10 per visit per day cap on the dollar-for-dollar match that SNAP-EBT cardholders and allows for purchase of healthy proteins through the program.


Keiki Rainbow Wellness Challenge promotes physical activity

The Keiki Rainbow Wellness Challenge will launch during National Physical Education and Sport Week starting Saturday and continuing through May 7 for youth in preschool through grade 8 statewide. The self-led challenge will be hosted virtually, allowing participants to join in remotely from their own homes.

So far, more than 50 schools have registered to participate across five islands, allowing this program to impact over 20,000 students and their families. Student participation will also help schools earn mini-grants to support health and wellness programs on campus.

Hawaii keiki and their families are invited to participate in this free, week-long challenge. Families can download the Challenge Scorecard online at and earn a face mask for completing seven out of 11 healthy activities. This family-friendly challenge encourages youth to live an active lifestyle, eat fresh fruits and vegetables, get appropriate amounts of sleep, and choose water over sugary beverages.

“It’s exciting to see so many schools join us for the Keiki Rainbow Wellness Challenge, a fun and educational way to engage students and families in healthy activities at home,” said Colby Takeda, president of Kaho‘omiki, one of the main challenge organizers. “It’s clear that despite the ongoing challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic, Hawai‘i schools and families are still interested in promoting physically active and nutritious lifestyles.”

Register and complete your challenge by May 31 to receive your finisher face mask and enter to win a variety of prizes. For more information and to participate, visit


HCC chancellor elected to board of the American Association of Community Colleges

Rachel Solemsaas, chancellor of Hawaii Community College, has been elected to the Board of Directors of the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), the primary advocacy organization for the nation’s community colleges. Solemsaas’ three-year term begins July 1.


“I am honored to serve in this capacity,” Solemsaas said. “It is an important time for community colleges as the nation recovers from the pandemic and seeks new ways forward to a brighter future. As national policy decisions are made and economic stimulus investments are deployed, I look forward to using this position to advocate on behalf of community college students and to represent Hawaii and the Pacific.”

AACC was founded in 1921 and represents nearly 1,200 two-year, associate degree-granting institutions and more than 12 million students – almost half of all U.S. undergraduates.

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