Updated: September 30, 2022
Nareit Hawaiʻi awarded a $30,000 grant to the Binhi At Ani Filipino Community Center to support the expansion of its Bayanihan Feeding Program, the beneficiaries of which are seniors on fixed incomes who have free meals prepared and delivered to them at home.
Melen Agcolicol, president of Binhi At Ani, said, “This grant is a godsend and comes at such an opportune time. We would have been strapped to continue our free meals program without Nareit Hawaii’s generous donation. This grant will pay for our food and supplies for the next two years and allow us to increase the number of seniors we can provide free meals to on Maui.”
Located in Kahului, Maui, Binhi At Ani, a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization, started the program in February 2021 to provide free meals on weekends to elderly residents on fixed incomes living in the Hale Mahaolu senior housing community. Binhi At Ani started the service in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to help protect the seniors from becoming infected, while also keeping them fed and healthy.
Since then, free meals have been prepared and delivered by Binhi At Ani to approximately 150 seniors every weekend. The Nareit Hawaiʻi grant will not only support the program’s continuation but will also allow Binhi At Ani to expand its reach to more residents in other senior housing communities.
Gladys Quinto Marrone, executive director of Nareit Hawaiʻi, said Binhi At Ani’s free meals service is the kind of community program Nareit Hawaiʻi and REITs strive to support with its grant awards. “Caring for our seniors and keeping them healthy and secure in their golden years is a core value of our community’s way of life. We admire the spirit and commitment shown by Binhi At Ani to look out for the health and welfare of Maui’s seniors and are proud to support this wonderful free meals program that so many volunteers are giving their time to make possible.”
Participating in the grant award presentation to Binhi At Ani were Carol Reimann of Alexander & Baldwin, which donated the land where the Binhi At Ani Filipino Community Center is located; Grant Chun of Hale Mahaolu; Kai Pelayo of Bayer Crop Science Hawaiʻi, which donated $20,000 over the past two years to upgrade Binhi At Ani’s kitchen; Richard Yust of Maui Food Bank where Binhi At Ani buys much of the food for the Bayanihan Feeding Program, and members of Binhi At Ani’s board of directors and advisory board.
State and county lawmakers showing their support at the grant presentation for Binhi At Ani’s free meals program for Maui seniors were State Senator Gilbert Keith-Agaran, State Representative Troy Hashimoto, Maui County Mayor Michael Victorino, and Maui County Councilmember Tasha Kama.
Established in 2005, Binhi At Ani serves the needs of Maui residents of all ages through enrichment and learning programs. Its mission is to organize and participate in programs promoting mutual respect and understanding among peoples of different ethnic and cultural backgrounds, to participate in programs and activities promoting good citizenship and cultural awareness, and to engage in activities that promote the general welfare.
Nareit Hawaiʻi represents the interests of REITs in Hawaiʻi and their participation in civic, community, and policy initiatives to benefit residents statewide, while also supporting community and charitable organizations that address social issues of importance. REITs are long-term property holders that own, renovate and manage affordable housing projects, commercial buildings, medical facilities, shopping centers, logistical spaces and warehouses for small businesses, cell phone towers, public storage facilities, and hotels in Hawaiʻi.