Teresa Nelle, Realtor (S), Island Sotheby's International Realty - West Maui Office
The Hawaiian value of aloha has a lot of different meanings. But, during the holiday season, aloha means spreading love throughout your community and to those who need it most. At least, this is true for Island Sotheby International Realty Agent Teresa Nelle, who’s been volunteering her time to feeding the community of Maui for the last 7 years alongside a program called Feed My Sheep.
“I believe no one should go hungry, its a basic human right to have enough to eat, especially in a rich country,” said Nelle when asked about why she started working with FMS.
Feed My Sheep is a mobile food distribution program, unlike any other. By driving out into the neighborhoods of Maui they can reach the community in a truly unique way. Nelle and her friends at Feed My Sheep bring bags of groceries, offer prayer, or kind words of aloha to people in the community that are either homeless, struggling financially, or for some reason are having a hard time providing for themselves or families. Their goal is to offer love and welcoming experience for everyone involved.
“I greet our friends and offer them a kind word, along with groceries for the week: fresh fruit, vegetables, bread, or a dessert, and sometimes some meat, too. I also pray with them about anything weighing on their hearts. If they don’t want prayer, that’s OK. I then wish them a good day.”
According to Feed My Sheep, each month they can provide 69,000 half-pound meals and in the last year have been able to give food to, “3,200 people including working but poor families, seniors on fixed incomes and homeless men and women.”
Nelle believes that no one should have to go hungry, for any reason, especially during the holiday season.
“During the holidays, people should reach out and help their neighbor, as many people have lost their families, especially the elderly or disabled need extra care and attention,” said Nelle.
Nelle explains that for some, seeing the volunteers is their only source of companionship for the entire week. “For some people, particularly the elderly, I have a feeling this is their social time - otherwise they don’t see many people throughout the week,” she said.
This kind of work goes way beyond just feeding the community. For Nelle, this is also offering aloha, in all it’s meanings, to those who need it most this holiday season.
“It’s a wonderful program that feeds the body, mind, and soul of our friends. Many of them are working poor or have some sort of medical issue that prevents them from working full time,” she explained. “If you are in Lahaina, come by any Thursday at 10 a.m.”
If you want to learn more about Feed My Sheep or become a volunteer please visit www.feedmysheep.com. For food assistance, please call 870-9421.