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Maui Food Bank

Follow the donated dollar.

January 14, 2014
Raphael O’Suna - Ha‘iku , Maui Weekly

The Maui Food Bank is one of Maui's favorite charities. Hunger, of course, is curable and everyone knows this. Plus, people realize the great tragedy of poor nutrition or no food. People tend to be generous with their donations--both food and cash.

Food donations go directly to the needy. The Maui Food Bank claims that 300 volunteers have helped to deliver food to the poor.

Money donated does not go directly to the hungry either in the form of cash or food. As one will see below, donated or granted money trickles down through salaries, wages, benefits, payroll taxes and many functional expenses.

Although the executive director of the Maui Food Bank has repeatedly said the following: " ...over 95 percent of expenses goes directly to program and services...," this is far from true.

Executive Director Richard Yust makes a reported $72,000 per year. One would assume that an intelligent and sincere person would have found a more accurate way of stating the facts. The very wording of his repeated statement, which confuses rather than clarifies the financial situation, is suggestive, if not suspicious. Of course 95 percent of expenses goes toward the program and services. Where else would it go? More importantly: Where does the cash go? Through what does it trickle before reaching the needy? For it does not reach them directly. This will be explored below. (The following numbers have been taken from the Maui Food Bank's audited financial statements.)

Here, we follow a donated dollar:

It is not too difficult to determine what part of each dollar received by the Maui Food Bank reaches the hungry in the form of food. During the fiscal year ended June 30, 2013, the Maui Food Bank purchased food in the amount of $296,922, or 20 percent of the $1,477,108 received from donations, grants and other sources. More than 56 percent of the remaining $1,180,186 was spent on employee-related expenses. Total employee-related expenses are listed as $666,974. There are 10 paid employees and one executive director.

The Maui Food Bank distributed donated and purchased food with a value of $3,164,562. As many as 6,000 meals may be served in a day.

Twenty percent of the cash received went toward the purchase of food; more than 45 percent of total cash received went to employees and related expenses; around 7 percent remained unspent; the rest went toward operating costs. (Almost all the food collected was given to the hungry.)

Thus, more than 72 percent of the cash collected was spent on non-food items--wages, salaries, benefits, costs of distribution, fund raising, utilities, etc.

One could reasonably conclude that too much money is being paid to staff and management. Some might wonder why the needy are not employed (perhaps in greater numbers, but at a reduced pay scale.) But there will also be those who see nothing wrong or unusual in these statistics.

 
 

 

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