October 10, 2013 In Uncategorized BoxLunch is a lunchtime series featuring food vendors in the BoxJelly storefront from 11am – 3pm. Click here for the list of schedules. Inum Taste will be at BoxLunch Tuesday’s.
This vendor is unique. Food is a way to connect with people; cooking, as a way of communication, transcends any language barrier, national identity, or cultural affiliation and connects us through the common physiological need to eat. The Kosraean Benevolent Association is one that understands this, and is creating a means to connect with Hawaii through this food venture.
KBA is a small organization, established by individuals who want to see the Micronesian community become self-sustaining individuals, and contributing citizens to the US as they move from their island homes and assimilate to the West. “This is how we can help our people become effective contributors to society,” says chairman Lino Talley. “(Moving to the US) is a cultural shock, and they’re not ready for that. That’s why we ended up with this other group of people doing all these negative things here in the States. That’s one thing that I believe can really help our people. By educating them.”
They hold regular meetings at the BoxJelly, initiate various ventures to raise funds, and acts as a centralized source for resources such as job skill improvements, community, and social services information referrals. As a startup organization, they’re only serving the Kosraean community, but are looking to target all four of the island states; a bold initative, especially because they are one of (if not the only) organization of its kind. We sat down with Lino Talley, KBA Chairman, to learn more about them and BoxLunch.
How did KBA decide to participate in BoxLunch?
For me, it all started because we need some funding, and it’s a good way to promote our mission. It would be a fast way to establish some funds, and so with help from Meltina and the other ladies, they really worked this idea to do some fundraising, adn what we have back on the island to bring here to expose our self to the community.
Member Jerry Tolenoa (left), and chairman Lino Talley (right).
What are some obstacles/unexpected challenges that KBA has had to face as an organization?
Funding will be number one. Getting funding and ways to finance our movement, or our mission. So whey you opened up the BoxLunch, we were really grateful for that too, because that’s our first pioneer project.
The KBA team at BoxLunch.
Number two will be to get our people participating in it. That’s normally the challenge we’re facing now. And that’s where we put in education, trying to create programs and educational outreach into our people. If we can educate them, then they can find jobs, then they can open a bank account, they improve their credit scores, they can buy property, and become effective contributors to the society or the community they’re in.
A “mini” plate: Papaya Steak, Rice, Kosraean BBQ Chicken, Cabbage Salad, and Kim Chee Long Rice
What is the most rewarding part of being a part of this organization?
Like I said a while back, it’s about educating and about self-sufficiency so that they can become aware of what they are supposed to be, or live in the States. Most of these people are people that came form the island. They just don’t have that knowledge. So I believe if we can educate them and program them well for their standards, then that’s the most rewarding part of it. To bring them up to a level where they can help themselves out financially, vocationally, as we stated in our mission. We want to see our peoplel move from the transitional programs that have been given, so that some day, we can see them at this level. We want to see our people transition.
Elyse and Megan, KBA at the BoxJelly.
Kosraean Benevolent Association
Tuesday’s: BoxLunch (307 Kamani Street)