Despite Hawai‘i's culinary diversity, many boarding students feel homesick because they miss the food that they used to enjoy back home. In response to boarding students’ needs, Seth Honda-Pedro ’20 founded a club named “Food for Thought,” which provides boarding students with homemade meals once or twice a month. “Food for Thought” is a student-driven club whose members are responsible for cooking heartwarming meals for assigned boarding students and getting to know about them.
“Creating a caring environment at ‘Iolani helps boarding students who are going through tough transitions feel more comfortable in the community,” said Honda. “I ultimately wanted to bridge the gap between day students and the boarding students by founding Food for Thought.”
Since December when Honda heard two of his Residential Life program friends Scarlett Hao ’20 and Sarp Senol ’20 longing for a home-cooked meal, he devised a plan to create a club dedicated to the boarding students. ‘Iolani students with basic experience in cooking, who are mostly self-directive juniors and interested in Food for Thought, formed the club’s first members.
Currently, 17 students comprise Food For Thought, advised by Mr. Rebus Bonning. Recently, the club has received permission from Residential Life executives to provide food to the boarding students. Throughout the month of April, Honda has organized a survey to check if any students have dietary restrictions, food allergies or types of food that they prefer to eat.
Starting next school year, Honda will assign one club member to a couple of boarding students, based on their culinary tastes and other interests. For now, Honda has received 24 responses from 34 boarding students and is hoping to receive more throughout the month. Honda hopes that more students become interested in Food for Thought, and looks forward to welcoming enthusiastic club members to spread a positive influence throughout the campus. The assigned group will have a chance to know each other better and socialize during lunch or after school. According to Honda, Food for Thought not only provides the boarding students with the meals but also enhances friendship ties and “tries to put a little spice” in life.
“Having boarding students here gives me a broader mindset and I am happy to witness positive attitude that the boarding students have,” said Honda. “I hope this continues – just like other clubs at ‘Iolani – and become an important part of students’ lives.”