Feed The Hunger Foundation Feeds Those Who Make The Food

Feed The Hunger Foundation president Denise Albano

From young farmers to modest entrepreneurs, Feed The Hunger Foundation stands ready to help.

The local nonprofit recently won its own $1 million award from the Economic Development Administration of the Department of Commerce, and FTHF president Denise Albano is eager to distribute the windfall as micro-loans among low-income entrepreneurs and small businesses in the state’s food sector.

The daughter of Andres and Sandra Albano of Hawaii Kai, Albano said favored investments since 2009 have been to farmers bringing “new technology and resilience” to food production, and groups of food producers sharing infrastructure such as tractors, cold storage, packaging areas and storefronts.

“Two of our top goals,” she said, “are to build a diverse agriculture and aqua-culture base, and to improve the food distribution system on Oahu.”

More than 35 low-income entrepreneurs earned a helping hand from FTHF over the past three years.

“There are many who would like to contribute to the movement for a self-sufficient food system in Hawaii,” explained FTHF chief executive officer Patti Chang, “but many are in need of funding to get their projects off the ground.”

Past support, for example, has gone to pay for equipment for an aquaponic fish and vegetable system, to a small cafe serving local ingredients, to a commercially licensed driver course, and to an ethnic foods business.

Ongoing loans are awarded, ranging from $2,000 to $100,000.

The group’s annual gala is at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at Hilton Hawaiian Village. To apply or learn more about the program or the benefit gala, contact Albano at denisealbano@feed-hunger.com or visit feed-hunger.com.