Waipahu Businessman Brings Food, Cheer To Homebound Folks

Thanks to volunteers like Mark Pennington, home-bound residents in West Oahu receive hot, nutritious meals from Hawaii Meals on Wheels.

Last year alone, 12,357 meals were delivered by 50 volunteers to 110 area recipients, including to homes in Aiea, Ewa Beach, Pearl City, Waimalu and Waipahu.

Pennington, who was raised in Aiea, owns Jani-King Hawaii, a commercial cleaning franchise in Waipahu.

“I love serving meals to shut-ins,” he said. “We make sure they are eating healthy meals and that they are safe in their homes. We also do this for the forgotten ones – the working children of clients, or caregiver-relatives who need relief from their 24-hour a day caregiving tasks.”

For the past five years, Pennington has made it his weekly service to pick up meals at Pearl City Nursing Home, the Meals on Wheels vendor, and deliver them to a dozen Aiea clients. And for five years prior to that, he delivered to homes in downtown Honolulu.

During the holidays, Pennington even donned a Santa suit to bring his clients some extra cheer. The response he got from one client – who was generally “emotionless” when receiving his meals – gave Pennington “the most remarkable day of my life.”

“When the client saw Santa,” he noted, “his eyes lit up and became big as saucers, and he started waving.”

A desire to help those who have been neglected, and a feeling that the world would be a better place if everyone helped out – that’s what keeps Pennington motivated. He also volunteers with the AYSO VIP soccer program for keiki with disabilities.

A total of 450 volunteers make 1,750 Hawaii Meals on Wheels lunch (or early dinner) deliveries each week.

For details, or to help deliver meals, call Hawaii Meals on Wheels at 988-6747.