North Kohala – A Small Community with Big Aloha

One of the greatest blessings of living on an island and in a small community within that island is the intimacy and Aloha Spirit that is ever-present. We are seeing these traits and characteristics much more prominently now than ever before. In my previous blog, I highlighted several organizations that are providing aid and assistance to families and communities in need. An exceptional example of this is the collaborative efforts currently happening on the Northern side of the Big Island in the district of North Kohala.


Hawi, Kapaau, and parts of Kawaihae are the towns that make up the district of North Kohala. With an approximate population of less than 7,000 residents — many of whom are employed within the hospitality, resort, retail, or food and beverage industries — the district has been severely impacted by the economic effects of COVID-19. Like so many others globally-individuals, families, keiki, and kūpuna in this small community have been hit with a drastic lifestyle and economic change. As community needs rose, so did the generosity of many businesses, organizations, and individuals.


The North Kohala Community Resource Center (a 501(c)3 non-profit organization) along with over 30 other collaborators – ranging from local farmers and businesses to non-profit organizations, foundations, churches and school-based organizations – are working together with a common goal. To provide resources and support food and nutrition access to those in North Kohala. A way to support this growing initiative is by donating towards a fiscally sponsored project of NKCRC, the “Feed Kohala” campaign through the North Kohala Eat Locally Grown project.

Above is a pic of the freshly made meals (accompanied with freshly frozen packaged meals for 5 days) that are served to over 100 North Kohala kūpuna EVERY week through the “Feed Kohala” initiative.

Through the support of NKCRC, 100% of your tax-deductible donation can be given to North Kohala Eat Locally Grown to continue to provide aid and support towards this entire initiative.


Mentioned in my previous blog, these are great examples of the on-the-ground support these organizations are providing to our small communities.

Local volunteers ready to distribute free milk, bags of fresh local produce and food to residents in their vehicles at BIGT’s food distribution at Solid Rock North in Hawi.

Over 180 bags were handed out, full of this generous amount of food and produce. Donated from various local farmers and individuals or purchased through the “Feed Kohala” initiative.

Keiki Care Packets from Activate Hawaii Aid and local donors are distributed to over 200 North Kohala keiki. These bountiful packets contained food, snacks, and educational resources for keiki and parents.

HIDOE Grab-and-Go Student Meals are distributed on all normal school days to ANY keiki under 18 within the vehicle.


SUSHI ROCKLocated in Hawi, Sushi Rock is home to weekly food drives distributing a variety of FREE food to residents in need.

Thankful residents line the streets of Hawi outside of Sushi Rock during their weekly food drives.

Click HERE to support this incredible initiative hosted by Peter Pomeranze, Owner of Sushi Rock, along with Drew Chance of HD Delivery.

KINGS VIEW CAFE – Located in Kapa’au town across of the historic, King Kamehameha Statue. Kings View Cafe has given away hundreds of pizza, prepared meals, keiki bags, and many other food items to a plethora of grateful families and residents!

Hundreds of pizza were already donated and delivered to dozens of families from North Kohala to the Kawaihae Coast.

The smiling thankful faces of keiki who received free pizza! Click HERE to donate!

More than 200 meals were served at the last Community Meal the last week of April.

Over 250 masks hand-sewn and donated to those in need.

St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church in Kapaau has served over 500 meals in the last month and gave out free masks along with their community meals to residents who may be in need.

Sacred Heart Catholic Church – Hawi normally hosts their monthly Food Pantry, however, with the rise of individuals and families in need due to the pandemic, the giving arose as well. The last Food Basket over two hundred cars came through, and over 600 families fed.

Supporting local families and supporting local farmers with fresh produce.

I am humbled and so thankful to live, work, play, and raise my family within a community with such a strong, vibrant spirit of ALOHA. We’ve heard the phrase “We Are All In This Together” reiterated by so many. That statement has never seemed more fitting and more true for the community of North Kohala, than at this time. Whether you are a long-time multi-generational resident, a fresh new face in town, or even just a once-upon-a-time visitor to the North side of Hawai’i Island… the community spirit is something everyone can appreciate and relate to as it speaks to one thing we all have in common… HEART.

Contact me to learn more about North Kohala or how you can support! Visit Hawaii Life’s valuable comprehensive COVID-19 Real Estate Resource Page to find answers and updates on Hawaii’s real estate market.

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Kathy Matsuda

May 7, 2020

Great video Denni! We are so lucky here in Kohala we take care of each other.

Daisy Rodriguez

May 7, 2020

I think it’s great. But would like to know the days of these foodrive dates .Please

Denni Keyes

May 7, 2020

> Aloha Daisy,

NKCRC’s website has the dates of the various distributions-
They try to update it every week as dates and/or distribution information changes.

Mahalo for your comment!

Linda L Hussey

May 7, 2020

Love this ! Great blog Denni!

Christine Richardson

May 7, 2020

Thank you, Denni, for such a great piece about our beloved Kohala.

Shawn Fernandez

May 8, 2020

What a great blog about Kohala’s helping hands. Love this and thank you for helping the community. I was one affected by beiing unemployed to due the covid19 and these services has helped for my family and I.
Much Mahalo

Denni Keyes

May 11, 2020

> Thank you for sharing Shawn and I’m happy to hear how this has blessed you and your ohana!

Forrest Arnold

May 8, 2020

Yay, Denni! What a wonderful + thoughtful message and link to good news during a difficult time. YOU are a gem …and a wonderful demo of Kohala Heart!

Phyllis Klicker

May 13, 2020

Awesome blog Denni. The love of your community and aloha shows through your writing and pictures. Can’t wait to read your next blog.

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