The Salvation Army quietly improving lives

There is an organization on Kauai that does a world of good. It does so quietly, effectively and consistently. This organization does not ask for fanfare, nor does it promote its good deeds to great extent, and its request for donations is done modestly.

What it does is change lives for the better, in big ways, the kind of ways that matter most to those in need. We hope to help it continue doing exactly that for another century.

The Salvation Army of Kauai, in partnership with the American Culinary Federation – Kauai Chapter, is celebrating The Salvation Army’s 120 years of Doing the Most Good in Kauai from 5 to 8:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 11 at the Kauai Marriott Resort and Beach Club.

You can enjoy signature selections from top island chefs, live music by Brother Noland and Blayne Asing, Ben Vegas and Maila Gibson and a silent auction. Tickets are $120. Register online at Hawaii.salvationarmy.org or call Sonia Topenio at 652-2499 if you have a question.

Now that we have the nuts and bolts out of the way, let’s talk about what The Salvation Army does so well that makes such an impact on this island and why it deserves our financial support.

The Christian organization has been providing basic needs such as food, clothing and household goods to needy of the community since 1897. Proceeds from sales of donated items at its well-kept thrift store on Rice Street help fund rehabilitation centers for individuals battling addiction.

That thrift store, by the way, is a great place to find good deals with pretty much whatever you might be after, whether it be clothing, furniture, books, household items, DVDs and jewelry. Friendly staff, too.

Salvation Army is there for us in tough times, and the good. It is there on a daily basis. Its roots are deep here.

By November 1894, The Salvation Army established its work in Hilo on the Island of Hawaii. Within the next three years, the Army was established on Maui and Kauai as well. Today, The Salvation Army has grown into a well-established and comprehensive network of social services and religious programs in Hawaii, Guam, Saipan, the Republic of Marshall Islands, and the Federated States of Micronesia, serving thousands of men, women and children each year.

The Salvation Army’s Lihue and Hanapepe Corps work in collaboration with programs on Oahu to provide Kauai residents with care and support. After more than a century, new programs continue to address contemporary needs, including keiki, adult and kupuna camps, holiday assistance and gifts, weekly programs for youth and seniors, plus disaster and emergency services.

Here on Kauai, its family services includes short-term utility and rent, clothing and food assistance, referral services and financial workshops.

The Hanapepe, Lihue and Hilo Corps Community Centers serve the hungry and the homeless through its Kokua Soup Kitchen. Through the support and cooperation of churches, community leaders, businesses, and volunteers, The Salvation Army serves hot meals twice a week to anyone who is hungry.

The nonprofit’s statewide reach is significant. Consider these numbers from Oct. 2015 to Sept. 2016:

• Persons served, 80,843

• Children served with basic needs, 2,047

• People provided with drug and alcohol treatment and rehabilitation, 5,033

• Families provided with housing assistance, 604

That’s nearly 90,000 people it assisted in Hawaii in one year.

Of course, it takes money to do all that good work. Salvation Army’s fiscal year 2016 expenses totaled $46 million. Of that, about $12 million went to corps community centers; $12 million to other social services; $10 million to residential and institutional services, $6 million for supporting services and $4 million for adult rehabilitation center services.

Where does all the money come from for all this?

For FY 2016, about $12 million from the government, $7.8 million sales to the public and $7.3 million from contributions and grants. Other funding comes from internal support, program service fees and adult rehab center.

It’s that last figure where we can make a difference. If you can, attend the Aug. 11 fundraiser. If not, consider a donation. Even though you might not hear about it, rest assured every dollar will be put to good use — changing lives here for the better, as it has done for more than a century and, we hope, centuries to come.

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