Nov. 19—Related Photo Gallery: Good Neighbor Fund assists families in need during holiday season
Helping Hands Hawaii has received more than 700 applications from families struggling to pay the bills or even put food on the table, so the goal of the Good Neighbor Fund campaign is to raise $125,000 to help fulfill the needs this holiday season and throughout the year.
The annual fundraising campaign of more than 50 years kicks off today.
The collaboration between the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, First Hawaiian Bank and Helping Hands Hawaii financially assists families, but also makes it possible for applicants in tough economic times to receive what they need most — from household items and school supplies to holiday gifts for children.
"A lot of the families are expressing that items are becoming more and more expensive," said Helping Hands Program Manager Kristine Garabiles. "For folks who may not be struggling as much, we take for granted what these families are asking for."
Of the more than 700 families that have applied for assistance, 600 will be receiving aid through the Helping Hands Community Clearinghouse and Adopt-A-Family programs.
The stories of just a few of the families will be featured weekly in the Star-Advertiser as the campaign progresses, highlighting the needs and financial circumstances of the hundreds that have reached out for help.
Good Neighbor Fund recipients in the past have expressed that the donations they've received have not only helped them through food insecurity, or financial or familial hardship, but it's also helped create positive experiences for loved ones, said First Hawaiian Bank Senior Vice President Bill Weeshoff.
"They are also deeply touched by the kindness of others in the community, and some are motivated to give back to others themselves when they are in a position to do so," Weeshoff said.
Whether one gives physical or monetary donations, regardless of the amount, Weeshoff added that the spirit of giving also helps build a sense of connectedness and greater well-being throughout the local community.
"While the holiday season is a time for celebration and spending time with loved ones, we also can't forget about our neighbors facing their own struggles during this time of year," he said. "We hope when people read stories about these families, it will inspire them to give back in their own way."
The most requested donation items this year are for basic necessities such as food, toiletries, towels, blankets and laundry detergent. Other items include mattresses, baby diapers and toys for the holidays, Garabiles said.
"For a family who their only income is like from a single parent ... it's just harder for them because the means that they have barely covers their household items," she said. "Trying to provide holiday gifts for their kids or another family member is rough."
All First Hawaiian Bank locations will begin accepting monetary contributions from Monday through Dec. 30. Donated goods and items will be accepted at the Helping Hands Community Clearinghouse at 2100 N. Nimitz Highway until Dec. 9.
How to help
Monetary donations can be made at any First Hawaiian Bank location beginning Monday until Dec. 30. Checks made payable to "Good Neighbor Fund" can be mailed to:
Helping Hands Hawaii
2100 N. Nimitz Highway
Honolulu, HI 96819
Attn: Good Neighbor Fund
All donations to the Good Neighbor Fund are publicly acknowledged in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Donors may choose to:
>> Print your name: Names will be printed exactly as listed unless specified.
>> Print a very brief message: For instance, "In memory of John Doe" or "From the Smith family."
>> Donate anonymously: Write "Do Not Publish" in the note or memo area.
Acknowledgements will be printed each Sunday through the end of the year.
Questions about the Good Neighbor Fund can be emailed to HHH@helpinghandshawaii.org.
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.
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that First Hawaiian Bank locations would be accepting monetary contributions through Dec. 19.