At the start of the holiday giving season an estimated 600 families had applied for assistance with everything from financial support to household donations of beds and school supplies through Helping Hands Hawaii’s Community Clearinghouse.
Donors can help provide families with basic household necessities by giving to the annual Good Neighbor Fund.
This year’s goal is to raise $100,000, said Kristine Garabiles, program manager of the Community Clearinghouse.
The Honolulu Star- Advertiser, First Hawaiian Bank and Helping Hands Hawaii annually partner to raise funds to support families who have applied for assistance during the holidays and throughout the year, in addition to supporting operational costs for the program.
Families increasingly are requesting help for material goods such as beds, dressers, basic household items or school supplies, or for financial support for rent or utility bills, Garabiles said.
Regular GNF donor Joseph Sanchez has contributed to the holiday fund for the past three years. “We don’t have children in our family,” Sanchez said. “So we try to give back and help people that are struggling.”
The successful entrepreneur in the construction industry said he discovered the good he could do when he helped his brother get back on his feet after he had fallen prey to a drug addiction. Seeing his brother overcome addiction and become successful made him realize the effects he could have.
“I’ve worked for companies that gave me the opportunity to travel all over the world, and I’ve seen that the younger kids need help, and their families,” Sanchez said. “We’re a part of our community. … We can make a change if we stand up and give.”
The Star-Advertiser will publish one feature article in each of the next five weeks to tell the stories of families who’ve applied for aid.
Linsey Dower covers ethnic and cultural affairs and is a corps member of Report for America, a national service organization that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues and communities.