Kalihi Waena Elementary School, about three miles from the Cathedral, is in one of the lowest income areas in the city, and has a high percentage (nearly 80%) of its with 467 students (2019-20) eligible for the Federal free lunch program. For over 10 years, the Cathedral has supported the school in a variety of ways. Each July, the parishioners of Saint Andrew’s have gathered school supplies for Kalihi Waena, and each December we donate extra meat for the holidays. Early in this period of quarantine and distance learning, we donated fifteen used laptop computers to the school to distribute to students with access to WiFi but no computers, to help them continue their studies online.
Our 2020 school supplies drive is particularly important, as the needs of the schools families is greater than ever, and the school’s list of supplies needed for each student is long. To help prospective donors, we have asked several long-term donors their strategy. Here are their suggestions:
- Julia Jackson: My methodology is to pick up a couple of everything my kids would need…pens, paper, pencils, erasers, and folders. Then I like to pick up items that are colorful and makes me wish my kids were in elementary school again: colored pencils, markers, and crayons.
- Ann Hansen: I go to Fisher Hawaii and zero in on their central aisle where they have their best deals. If they have composition books for 49 cents each, I buy a whole stack. If they have boxes of 12 colored pencils for 95 cents each, I buy a whole bunch. My theory is to get the “most bang for the buck”.
- Elizabeth Conklin: I also go to Fisher for the low prices, if I have time. Otherwise Long’s. But I also look for things that aren’t too basic: colorful composition books, big sets of crayons.
- Barbara Service: My methodology? Write out a check and give it to Ann!
- Peg Jackson: – I consider the types of items that keiki would need but would be difficult for families to afford such as backpacks. That’s always a problem, but this year it’s a really big problem. I also want to make sure that keiki can always get lunch (when their parents do not pay their meal bill) without any bureaucratic hassles which is why I arrange for funds to be given to you/school principal.
- Matt & Dante: After having spent several years working at the Wahiawa Library with children I became familiar with some of the more popular items kids needed as they prepared to return to school and this becomes the starting point for our shopping efforts. The Navy Exchange usually has a large tent set up in the parking lot with tables stacked high with all different types of school supplies. We look for the good values, but also items that kids might like to have, but wouldn’t be able to get for themselves. It is also good to take a moment and think back to a time when it was so exciting to get a fresh pack of crayons, or new notebooks and binders, and pencils that needed to be sharpened in order to use them. It makes filling a shopping cart lots of fun. Of course – the “bargain barrels” are always a kick too. In the end – it is wonderful to know that these things are helping out kids with their education and that it really does make a difference.
- Paul Reeser: I don’t really have a plan. Mostly I just watch for items that are on sale and are of the type kids would enjoy having.
Last year it was backpacks at Long’s.
If you prefer to donate money, you may do so by writing a check to the Cathedral with “School Supplies” in the comment line. Or, you may donate online here, specifying the donation is for school supplies.