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West // West Oahu Coverstory
Jaimie Kim

Intergenerational Pact Creates Good Ewa Eats

Students at St. Francis Preschool at the St. Francis Intergenerational Center enjoy a healthy lunch of grilled garlic steak, roasted potatoes, mixed vegetables and fresh fruit prepared by Poke Stop. Through St. Francis' partnership with Poke Stop's chef Elmer Guzman, the keiki and adults at the center enjoy fresh, healthy meals every day. Photo courtesy of St. Francis Healthcare System of Hawaii.

Students at St. Francis Preschool at the St. Francis Intergenerational Center enjoy a healthy lunch of grilled garlic steak, roasted potatoes, mixed vegetables and fresh fruit prepared by Poke Stop. Through St. Francis’ partnership with Poke Stop’s chef Elmer Guzman, the keiki and adults at the center enjoy fresh, healthy meals every day. Photo courtesy of St. Francis Healthcare System of Hawaii.

Thanks to a partnership with Poke Stop, preschoolers and adult day care participants at St. Francis Intergenerational Center in Ewa are enjoying nutritious and palate-pleasing snacks and meals.

It’s a professional relationship that has been years in the making. Poke Stop chef and owner Elmer Guzman has long worked with the organization.

“I’ve been involved with the sisters for many years doing their catering at St. Francis Liliha,” said Guzman, “and throughout the years, we’ve grown and developed a great relationship.”

Poke Stop currently serves approximately 30 students and day care participants, though the center intends to continue to increase its enrollment. With meals that include ginger scallion steamed fish, using locally produced greens and fish fresh from auction, Guzman’s food reflects St. Francis’ mission to encourage healthy communities.

“Our goal is not to serve processed foods and eliminate anything fried,” he explained. “In the beginning, the children had some (difficulty) in accepting my philosophy, but at the end of the day, it’s only going to better their diets and lifestyle.”

“We like that partnership to be able to teach the kids about healthy eating,” said Cheryl Tamura, development and communications director for St. Francis Healthcare Foundation.

Tamura added that the dietary needs of adults change as they age.

“So we’re teaching adults how to eat better, as well.”

The center opened in March and caters to preschoolers from 3 to 5 years old. It also serves as a haven for seniors ages 62 and older, who may seek socialization or need assistance during the day.

Though the two groups do not interact regularly, special occasions sometimes bring them together.

“We see that the two generations can sort of meet their needs,” said Tamura. “The children want to learn from older adults and the older adults … they love children and they have so much to share with them.”

For more information on the St. Francis Intergenerational Center, visit stfrancishawaii.org.

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