Tuesday, January 6, 2009
At yesterday's informational briefing on homelessness in Hawaii, the buzz word of the day (which will probably be used throughout session) was "innovative". Avant-garde policies. Creative ideas. Innovative meaning the best way to accomplish a goal by using as little money as possible – or none at all – given the bleak outlook of the state budget.
An article in The Maui News today featuring a new non-profit group is a perfect example of what it means to be innovative. "Waste not, Want not" is an organization that collects fruits and vegetables from the personal gardens of donating tree owners to distribute to senior citizens and low-income families at no cost. Volunteers collect and distribute produce with the help of the Maui Food Bank.
Budgets are tight and, as we all saw last year, the Hawaii Food Bank received fewer donations as more families struggled to put food on their own tables. We live in Hawaii where many of us have homes that probably boast mango trees, avocado trees, or even melon trees. My sister and I frequently knock on the doors of melon tree owners in Ewa Beach to ask if they want to swap papaya for melon. On most occasions they just give them to us for free because "they [melons] going just end up rotten on the ground anyway." Taking food that would be wasted if not eaten and giving it to those that need it the most at no cost to anyone seems like a sensible and fruitful idea to me.
In a time when a gallon of milk or a bag of grapes cost nearly $10, it's refreshing to read about communities sharing what resources they have. And from where I'm sitting, it doesn't seem like a bad idea. When my breadfruit and papaya trees bear fruit this year, I'll be sure to put what my family won't consume aside for others.