This semester, the Associated Students of the University of Hawai‘i-Windward Community College (ASUH-WCC) collected 100 boxes filled with donated goods for the homeless.
The project came about in January at ASUH-WCC’s welcome back event when student life coordinator Kaahu Alo was approached by student Stephanie Castaneda with the idea of participating in “Shoeboxes for the Homeless.”
Sponsored by Chinen & Arinaga Financial Group Inc., a company that specializes in retirement services and also helps communities around the island by working with different elementary and high schools, the objective of the project is to collect a variety of items ranging from hygienic products, school supplies, toys and canned foods.
The items are then packaged into shoeboxes and delivered to homeless shelters.
“It happens throughout the schools, so we thought it was a nice way for us to kind of jump in and participate with this initiative that helps our community,” Alo said.
“I have always wanted to incorporate something where we could help homeless people, and when we got a hold of this idea, we thought it was great,” said ASUH-WCC senator Tiare Kaopua.
ASUH-WCC began collecting materials in January. The drive ended on Feb. 14, and the boxes were picked up the next day.
It was a campus-wide effort. TRiO donated a handful of bags with miscellaneous items such as markers, toiletries, coloring books and pencils.
The Learning to Grow program donated hand puppets for children and Seashore, Touch-n-See Hawaiʻi books. Student parent counselor Carla Rogers donated brand new teddy bears.
Alo and Kaopua, along with other ASUH-WCC members such as student activities coordinator Makana Tani, secretary Andrew Simeona and president Kelli Acopan, assembled the boxes according to age and gender.
This was the first time ASUH-WCC had worked with an outside organization on a project focused on the homeless community.
It is now considering starting a project of its own with students as the focus of the collection.
“We had people ask us (ASUH-WCC) if we are going to keep doing it for our Windward students and keep collecting things,” Alo said.
To get involved in future ASUH-WCC initiatives, contact Alo at 235-7354.
by Itzel Contreras Mendez, Ka ‘Ohana Staff Reporter