Be thankful, give back

While you enjoy Thanksgiving with your loved ones today, take some time to reflect and be thankful for what you have — a shelter to warm you and food and drink to fill your belly.

Be thankful for what you have because others aren’t as fortunate.

Homelessness, for instance, remains high in the islands.

The Aloha State has seen some of the largest increases in homeless people in the nation, according to a report released by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Hawaii saw a total of 7,921 homeless people in 2016. That figure is an increase of about 35 percent compared to the 2010 mark of approximately 6,000 people.

According to the annual Point in Time count released in June, there were 442 homeless people on Kauai in 2016, a 30 percent increase from last year’s figure of 339.

Many organizations on the Garden Isle are doing their part the help feed those who in need.

On Wednesday, the Salvation Army served about 800 people at its community luncheon at Kauai War Memorial Convention Hall and its Hanapepe location.

The luncheons are made possible through contributions that include Kukuiula Development Corp. that cooked and prepared 10 turkeys; Island School, Kilohana, the Luau at Kalamaku and the Courtyard by Marriott that helped with cooking; and Uncle Larry Rivera and his crew provided entertainment at the convention hall.

On Tuesday, the Kauai Marriott Resort and Beach Club donated about four tons of food to the Kauai Independent Food Bank’s Holiday Healthy Food and Fund Drive. The goal of the drive is to collect 40,000 pounds of food and $45,0000.

The Wailua MotoCross track hosted 30 racers on Sunday for a charity race with a unique registration fee: canned goods.

About 150 pounds of food was collected by the Hawaii Foodbank Kauai Branch to feed the hungry on the island.

It is imperative that we do our part to support those who feed the hungry and shelter the homeless and care for our keiki and kupuna.

If you have some spare change in your pocket, give to organizations like the Salvation Army or KEO this holiday season.

Be thankful for friends, family, health and home.

Better yet, lend a helping hand and volunteer. There are many ways to make a difference on Kauai and it won’t cost you any money — just your time. Be one of those people who gives generously and brightens the days of others.

Help others have a happy Thanksgiving — and beyond.

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