Kalihi Waena is an elementary school 3.5 miles from the Cathedral. Many (76%) of its students are on free or reduced cost meals (breakfast and lunch.) The term ‘free and reduced lunch’ is an indicator of financial difficulties in a family, of poverty in a community, and often a predictor of how well students will do in school. When officials quantify struggling schools in poor neighborhoods, they cite the number of free and reduced lunches. It is a key measurement, like class size and test scores and graduation rates.
Financially stressed families frequently have to decide which bill was the most pressing. When choosing between using their limited money for rent, food, car repair or school supplies, the priority has to go to the family’s immediate survival needs. Sadly, this often means children are ashamed to show up for school at the start of the year without the necessary supplies.
For more than a decade, the Cathedral’s Outreach Committee has organized a school supplies campaign, in which members bring school supplies or monetary donations for Kalihi Waena to buy the supplies they need. With a large stash of our school supplies, the office staff can phone parents of absent students to say: “Don’t worry about the school supplies. Just send your children to school we have enough supplies for them.”
How you can help
You can contribute to the Outreach Committee’s campaign in three ways:
Buying Supplies: If you are at Long’s, Office Depot or Fisher Hawaii and there is a good sale, buy multiples of the items available at a discount. The school supplies in greatest need are composition books and folder paper (wide ruled), boxes of crayons, magic markers and pencils. Download the list of recommended supplies here. Bins will be provided in the Narthex every Sunday in July. On July 29, the supplies will be blessed prior to delivery to the school.
Monetary donations: You can also make out a check to Cathedral of Saint Andrew and write “School Supplies” on the memo line, or make an online donation specifying School Supplies. At the end of July, the Bookkeeper will make out a check to Kalihi Waena combining all those donations. A year ago, we gave the Parent Coordinator at Kalihi Waena a check for $600! That enabled her to shop for the school supplies most in need.
Go with Outreach Committee to Kalihi Waena: Be a part of the actual contribution. We will meet at the Cathedral on Monday July 30 at 1:00 and load the supplies into the cars. We will drive to Kalihi Waena and unload them in their conference room (see photo above, from 2015). Join us for a chance to talk with the staff and hear directly from them the difference it makes for the students and the school as a whole.
Whichever way you choose to contribute to this campaign, you will help enable students to feel ready for the new school year. They will also know that people in the community are concerned about their academic success. Their parents are relieved to know their child or children have supplies which they could not provide, and the teachers are also relieved to be able to present activities that the whole class will have the materials necessary to complete.
— Ann Dugdale Hansen
Outreach Committee Liaison to Kalihi Waena