Magnificent Nonproft: Help is on the Way – Seeing the need, and doing something about it

Help is on the Way came to life from the heart and vision of six Oahu residents. The vision was clear: the growing need for help during the pandemic could be answered by community support. It started on March 22nd of this year as a like minded, community-oriented Facebook group. The founders read posts on the media about kupuna not being able to get out and get groceries, essentials, and decided to take action themselves.

We spoke to one of the founders, Gregory Kim:  “The idea is simple: we pick up stuff for people – kupuna, people with medical conditions, and quarantined individuals. We provide them with a delivery service where they don’t have to leave the house, and it does not cost anything. As long as it fits in the car we will deliver – usually it is food. We pick up from any place that allows curbside pick up.

Gregory continues: The big picture for me is that this whole effort has been a spiritual experience. There’s something bigger than the individual. Something larger is going on here – we’re all human beings.”  He takes things to that basic, core level of understanding. He’s studying theology right now – doing service, and letting people discover spirituality through service. He thinks the younger generations are more spiritual than their elders, but as a kupuna, he seems to be also showing the way and setting a great example.

The program does not have funding and does not accept financial contributions. Although it’s a non-profit, it doesn’t have tax exempt / 51c3 status. That gives the group a lot of freedom to find ways to meet people’s needs. If the founders come across individuals who simply don’t have the resources to buy food, they find a way – out of their own pockets, often – to purchase and deliver food to those people.

Help is on the Way thrives on people’s generous donations of food and time. They started with deliveries and are now doing food drives and creating food bags with non-        perishable items. Volunteers hold food at their homes and deliver to those who don’t have the resources for food.

The set up created at the early stages of the organization is still working. People can call or email, and then a dispatch team promptly responds.  People in need go through a simple 2 step process to qualify as not having enough and thus being eligible for help.

Food distributions are now happening about once a week at Na Kupuna Naka Mai, as well as at the senior center on Ala Moana Boulevard in Kakaako.

They are always watching the ebb and flow of what is happening. Lately the demand has been increasing for free food bags, and demand for volunteer grocery pick-ups is lessening. With their Covid-driven mission, Help is on the Way seeks to allow vulnerable people to safely stay home.

The next frontier for Help is on the Way is to address the food security problem. They are already coordinating with the Kupuna Food Security Coalition. In the meantime, when someone on Oahu is deeply in need, Help is on the Way!

Phone: (406) 426-1013


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