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Artisan loaves made by the hands of students donated to people in need

In normal times, most of the food prepared by the University of Hawaii Maui College Culinary Arts students is sold in the cafeteria or in The Leis Family Class Act Restaurant or at events the college caters. These times, of course, are anything but normal.

Amber Kalish is one of this summer’s intermediate baking students. And one of her friends, Brad Kukral, is a founder of the Maui nonprofit Hungry Homeless Heroes Hawai’i. Amber and her classmates are up to their elbows in bread. Kukral’s organization always needs food for distribution. So, on July 17 Kukral picked six bags of rye, all kinds of sourdough loaves, baguettes and more, just part of the bounty that this community has come together to donate to his organization.

“We’re so humbled and grateful to be able to partner with Hungry Homeless Heroes,” says UH-MC Culinary Arts Program Coordinator Pastry Chef Teresa Shurilla. “Bread baked with love and passion by our students going to our neighbors who need it most. We hope we can continue the relationship with the organization as long as they need us.”

When the pandemic lockdown began, Brad and his friend Steve Calkins realized that Maui’s homeless population was being overlooked in terms of relief and aid. See a need and fill it. They decided they could cook some meals and pass them out in Lahaina, where they both live. “It really was that simple,” according to Kukral.

Four months later, they are working out of Blue Moon Cafe in Kihei — which has donated its kitchen — alongside more than 70 volunteers — from executive chefs to delivery drivers — and are serving 300 to 350 meals a day in Kahului, Wailuku, Kihei, Lahaina and Paia. They estimate they have served well over 25,000 meals. (The County of Maui estimates there are as many as 1,400 homeless people here.)

“We work with many local farms, too,” explains Kukral. “They donate hundreds of pounds of produce and some of the folks we feed work on the farms.” The organization gratefully accepts donations of cooked food prepared in certified kitchens, produce, and non perishable food items.

The best way to reach them is via their Facebook page — Hungry Homeless Heroes Hawaii. Or to make a monetary donation, visit www.gofundme.com/f/hungry-homeless- heroes- hawaii.

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