Senator Mazie Hirono announced that she will be donating the pay she receives during Trump’s partial government shutdown. Specifically, she’ll donate to food banks in four counties across Hawaii.
In a news release, Senator Hirono explained:
“More than 2,500 federal workers in Hawaii are either furloughed or working without pay during the holidays because Donald Trump shut down the government. As long as Donald Trump refuses to re-open the government, I will be donating my salary to Hawaii’s food banks – who serve nearly one in eight Hawaii residents in need.”
That isn’t an exaggeration, either; Hawaii might be the dream vacation for a lot of people, with visions of resorts and relaxation, but food insecurity and the high cost of living are legitimate issues. In addition to the one in eight people struggling with hunger in Hawaii, one in six children face food insecurity.
When you take into account Hawaii’s cost of living, the state has the ninth highest level of poverty in the country. This breaks down to roughly one in six people in Hawaii living in poverty.
Hawaii, for example, ranks at the top of the list, alongside California, as one of the most expensive states in the country to rent a home.
In terms of food security, more than 35,000 households in Hawaii qualify as “food insecure.” What does this mean? That they’ve had obstacles accessing enough food to feed their families and have gone hungry. As reported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, this is in addition to having “very low food security,” a qualifier another 14,500 families fit into.
This year, Hirono will split her salary donations between the Hawaii Food Basket on Hawaii island, the Hawaii Foodbank on Oahu and Kauai, and the Maui Food Bank.
Hirono has a considerable record of donating her salary during shutdowns. Back in 2013, she donated her salary to nonprofit Lanakila Pacific, and, specifically, its Meals on Wheels program. She also donated to Hale Mahaolu, which helps provide housing for families and seniors in Maui County. More recently, in January 2018, she donated her salary between 14 federally qualified community health centers in Hawaii.
But will Trump donate to hungry families during his temper tantrum driven shutdown? Doubtful.