Jan. 1—As 2022 came to a close, so did the annual Good Neighbor Fund campaign, a charitable partnership between the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, Helping Hands Hawaii and First Hawaiian Bank that helps struggling individuals and families during the holiday season.
Starting on Thanksgiving Sunday, the newspaper offered weekly features on five local ohana who were hoping to make their spirits a little brighter with help from their neighbors, accompanied by a list of donors. As of the latest tally, the Good Neighbor Fund had raised a little more than $115,000 from donations of all sizes, surpassing its goal of $100,000.
Donations to the fund will help support Helping Hands Hawaii's operational costs, as well as its various programs including the Community Clearinghouse, which provides basic necessities to those in need.
Kristine Garabiles of Helping Hands Hawaii said monetary donations to the 2022 holiday campaign fell short of the previous year's total, which nearly doubled its goal of $75,000. However, she still considers the most recent fundraising drive a big success.
The nonprofit's Adopt A Family holiday program was able to serve more than 700 families, according to Garabiles.
As usual, the months of November and December recorded the largest number of donations of money and goods for the Community Clearinghouse and the Good Neighbor Fund, both of which operate year-round, Garabiles said.
"Donations come in where it's piling up into a mountain of stuff," she said. "The staff can't keep up with sorting and putting them out on the floors, so we're always looking for volunteers who can help us with that."
Those who would like to continue helping their neighbors in need may send monetary donations to the Good Neighbor Fund at 2100 N. Nimitz Highway, Honolulu, HI 96819, while donations of gently used items can be dropped off at the Community Clearinghouse, located at the same address, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays.
Anyone interested in volunteering with Helping Hands Hawaii can start by filling out an application at helpinghandshawaii.org/volunteer/.
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.