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School supply drive to help island keiki in need

With the arrival of the new 2014-15 school year, thousands of keiki on Hawaii Island will start school without the necessary supplies required.

KAPA Radio Hawaiian FM in partnership with Hawaii Island United Way will be collecting school supplies for children in need. The Kakoo I Na Keiki “Support the Keiki” Community Initiative helps provide much-needed items to elementary school age children in public schools who would otherwise go to school without supplies, according to the Hawaii Island United Way.

“The keiki are our future,” said Kelcie Kohara, community service liaison for the American federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations. “We need to invest in them to build a better future. Here we help everyone — that’s the aloha culture, the culture of the Big Island.”

From 10 a.m.-2 p.m. July 26, a school supply drive will be held. Donation locations are Walmart in both Hilo and Kona, ChoiceMart in the Kealakekua Ranch Center and Kmart in Kailua-Kona.

In March, Big Island schools conducted a survey and provided direct feedback on what supplies were needed, Kohara said. Supplies needed are: No. 2 pencils, erasers, scissors, crayons, rulers, glue, pencil sharpeners, pencil boxes, backpacks, composition tablets, subject tablets, glue sticks, colored pencils, color markers, fine tip markers, binder paper, filler paper, three-prong folders with pockets, folders, portfolio with pockets, ball point pens (black/blue), and 2-inch binders. In addition, paper towels, Kleenex, gallon Ziploc bags, and hand sanitizer are also appreciated.

Monetary donations may also be made at any of the locations. Checks can be made out to “Hawaii Island United Way — Support the Keiki.” All donations will be used to buy more needed supplies.

Those unable to make the drop-off date can drop off school supplies to the KAPA Radio studio or at the Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce, one of the sponsors of this event, until Friday. Monetary donations are also accepted year-round at

Last year, a total of 21,259 supplies at an estimated value of $31,751 were collected and distributed to 33 Big Island schools, according to the Support the Keiki Initiative impact report.

“Our goal for this year is to increase the amount of supplies we give each school,” Kohara said. “Last year, we increased the number of schools we reached and this year we want to amp up the amount of supplies to each school.”

The initiative holds three drives per year to help out keiki in need on the island. KAPA Radio Hawaiian FM and Hawaii Island United Way see that the biggest needs for keiki in the community are shoes, school supplies and food. Most recently, they held a slipper drive in March. According to the impact report, they collected more than 1,000 pairs of slippers and raised $5,454.52 for the cause. In December, they will hold a food drive for kids who do not have enough food during school breaks.

All donations will be delivered to schools during the first week of August.

For more information, call Kohara at 969-3236 or Kaea Lyons of KAPA Radio Hawaiian FM at 329-6633.

Email Mercedes DeCarli at


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