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Good Neighbor Fund kicks off today

  • JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARADVERTISER.COM
                                Helping Hands Hawaii CEO Susan Furuta, right, and Community Clearing House program director Kristine Garabiles sort through some of the donated items to be given to needy families for the holidays on Friday, Nov. 19, 2021, at Helping Hands Hawaii’s main center in Honolulu. The Good Neighbor Fund will help approximately 550 families in need this coming holiday season, providing such items as clothing and essentials to donated vehicles.

    JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARADVERTISER.COM

    Helping Hands Hawaii CEO Susan Furuta, right, and Community Clearing House program director Kristine Garabiles sort through some of the donated items to be given to needy families for the holidays on Friday, Nov. 19, 2021, at Helping Hands Hawaii’s main center in Honolulu. The Good Neighbor Fund will help approximately 550 families in need this coming holiday season, providing such items as clothing and essentials to donated vehicles.

  • JAMM AQUINO /JAQUINO@STARADVERTISER.COM
                                Helping Hands Hawaii CEO Susan Furuta, left, and Community Clearing House program director Kristine Garabiles held some of the donated items to be given to needy families for the holidays on Friday at Helping Hands Hawaii’s main center in Honolulu.

    JAMM AQUINO /JAQUINO@STARADVERTISER.COM

    Helping Hands Hawaii CEO Susan Furuta, left, and Community Clearing House program director Kristine Garabiles held some of the donated items to be given to needy families for the holidays on Friday at Helping Hands Hawaii’s main center in Honolulu.

As many Hawaii residents endure hardships during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, a local nonprofit organization calls out to the community to rally and help families in need.

The annual Good Neighbor Fund, a charitable partnership with Helping Hands Hawaii, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser and First Hawaiian Bank, kicks off today to help struggling individuals and families during the holiday season.

This year, the fundraising campaign aims to raise $75,000.

For decades, the campaign has helped support Helping Hands’ initiatives that include the Adopt A Family Program. More than 500 families are seeking assistance through the program this holiday season for food, clothing and household items.

Donations to the Good Neighbor Fund also assist Helping Hands with operational costs for the nonprofit’s Community Clearinghouse Program which helps people with basic necessities throughout the year.

Program manager Kristine Garabiles said there are a range of challenges individuals and families in Hawaii are dealing with from losing their jobs after businesses have shuttered their doors indefinitely to individuals who have returned to work but are unable to get enough hours as a result of COVID-19-related economic woes.

“Some are catching up on bills,” Garabiles said.

Others are attempting to rebuild their lives after leaving an abusive relationship or coping with the untimely death of a family member and becoming the sole provider for their family.

“Some have lost a family member because of COVID,” Garabiles said.

Last year, the Good Neighbor Fund raised more than $125,000. Susan Furuta, president and chief executive officer of Helping Hands Hawaii, recalled they were initially concerned with how the holiday fundraising campaign would do and were pleasantly surprised with the community’s generous support. “The community came out really strong last year because everybody felt they really needed to help out each other,” Furuta said.

“I want to share our deepest gratitude for the community,” she said, adding she hopes the community will carry on that spirit of giving this holiday season.

How to help

Individuals may drop off cash or checks to the “Good Neighbor Fund” at any First Hawaiian Bank branch statewide until Dec. 31.

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