East Hawaii News

300 Backpacks Collected for Children in Need

October 7, 2013, 4:47 PM HST
* Updated October 8, 8:39 AM
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The Hawai`i Police Department collected more than 300 backpacks for children in need during a drive held between July and September.

Police stations around the island served as drop-off points for the backpack drive held in partnership with HOPE Services Hawai`i, an organization formerly known as the Office of Social Ministry, and From Kids For Kids.

In addition to the backpacks, citizens also donated numerous boxes of school supplies.

This was the fifth consecutive year for the backpack drive.

“It is heartwarming to see the outpouring of compassion year after year,” said Chief Harry Kubojiri. “It is particularly rewarding to see how thenumber of donated backpacks has grown since this project began five years ago.”

Backpacks have been identified as the most requested non-food item for charities in Hawaiʻi. The donated backpacks are being distributed to women’s shelters, homeless shelters and transitional housing around the Big Island.

rom Kids For Kids founder Nani Welch-Keliihoomalu displays backpacks collected in a previous drive in this file photo from when she was 14.

From Kids For Kids founder Nani Welch-Keliihoomalu displays backpacks collected in a previous drive in this file photo from when she was 14.

From Kids For Kids was founded in 2006 by Big Island resident Nani Welch-Keliihoomalu, then 10, who was responsible for distributing backpacks containing books, clothing, art and school supplies.

Now 17, Welch-Keliihoomalu raised an additional $450 in cash donations for the project this year through her school, Hawaiʻi Preparatory Academy.

Another $250 was donated by the I. Kitagawa company, which also collected 132 backpacks and several bags of school supplies after Ashley McCollum-Ranne, a payroll clerk at Kamaʻaina Motors, heard an announcement on the radio and approached General Manager Ivan Nakano about collecting backpacks from employees.

Other large contributors were HFS Federal Credit Union, which donated 75 backpacks, and Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church in Papaʻikou, which donated 12 backpacks.

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