Our Islands, Our Future

Harlan Hughes

Harlan Hughes

When it comes to meeting human needs–a priority value expressed by our community through the Focus Maui Nui process–Harlan Hughes is one volunteer whose outstanding example has benefitted the Maui Food Bank and the thousands who receive its help each month. Harlan leads fellow-members of the Rotary Club of Maui in organizing food drives at Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, and during the Holiday Season in 2010, the group collected over 3,000 pounds of food and more than $2,000 in cash donations. Harlan’s gift is inspiring others to help achieve extraordinary results. “I may be the cheerleader, but without a team to help, and those who donate, none of it would be possible.”

Hughes has retired now from the food and beverage industry, a background that helps explain his particular passion in giving back. He learned about volunteerism and serving the community from his mother, Lottie, who was a dedicated volunteer here on Maui well into her 80s. He also developed and directs the annual “Chefs on the Beach” fundraiser (netting $20,000 last year) which helps support several Maui nonprofits, and his work for the Food Bank serves as another remarkable example.

The Food Bank, headed by Executive Director Richard Yust, in turn leaves no stone unturned in its mission to mitigate hunger across the County. Whether it’s collecting goods from community food drives or retail and wholesale store donations, distributing perishable items through partner agencies in a timely manner, or working with local farmers to bring in donated nutritional fresh produce, about 140,000 pounds of food per month reaches needy families and individuals. “We’re all about partnerships,” says Yust. “By working together, we are able to create win-win situations.” About 90 community service agencies and faith-based organizations that run a total of 105 programs access the inventory of the Food Bank, and over 10,000 recipients each month benefit through these programs – and from the dedication of volunteers like Harlan Hughes.