For educators, knowing whether a particular child or how many children within a school are eligible for “free or reduced cost lunch” is significant because it reveals which families are hard-pressed financially. Families that qualify for free or reduced cost lunch are under such financial pressure they have trouble meeting the rent, electricity and cost of food demands each month. In those households, the educational needs of children take a backseat to the daily necessities. That is why educators consider the eligibility for the free and reduced cost lunch as an indicator that a child (or a whole school) is at risk educationally.
At Kalihi Waena, 74.1% of the students are eligible for free or reduced cost lunch, which means their families do not have the financial capacity to provide their children with the school supplies on the list. That is why the Cathedral assists the school each year by providing the needed supplies so the students can start the new school year with the tools they need to succeed academically.
There are different ways to help provide school supplies. Parishioners can make a donation of money or the school supplies themselves. We expanded our school supplies campaign a few years ago by adding slippers. For safety reasons, students have to have footwear on at school. By supplying Kalihi Waena with an assortment of slippers, the Cathedral helps the students, families and school improve the attendance rate. If a student does not have slippers or the thong of their slipper breaks, the student goes to the office. Leila Bajarin, the Parent Coordinator, chooses a pair that fits and matches the child so the child can attend school.
This project is another example of the #3 Mark of Mission: responding to human need by helping low income students whose families cannot afford school supplies be ready to succeed academically.
– Ann Dugdale Hansen
Outreach Committee – Kalihi Waena Liaison