Local businesses beseeched to minister to a ministry
HAWAII'S nonprofit Institute for Human Services Inc., once known as the "Peanut Butter Ministry," has begun receiving $400 a month from Lex Brodie's Tire Co.
"We just feel like the homeless situation is everybody's responsibility," said Marketing Director Bill Gray.
The headlines about Hawaii's homeless problem have started to slack off a bit now that Herculean efforts of goodwill have produced tangible results and have been well reported.
Of course homelessness has not been eliminated -- and those who served the homeless without any fanfare before the big headlines continue to do so with limited resources.
Lex Brodie's monthly donation will continue for at least a year, "and we're going to encourage other businesses to do the same," Gray said. "We're saying $400 a month is not a lot of money for a bigger company."
For $100, IHS can meet the needs of a family of five for a week, the nonprofit told him.
IHS is about much more than shelter and food, but meal service is a huge part of its mission. It provides three hot squares a day -- for a total of 800 daily meals, or 24,000 a month.
Meals are prepared by volunteer churches, but nevertheless there are expenses. IHS obtains food and other personal necessities through community partners, such as the Hawaii Foodbank, which keeps costs down.
IHS is planning a six-week awareness-building and fundraising campaign beginning next month, when political advertising will run in the newspaper and on television and radio stations.
Because Lex Brodie's already has paid for some of that air time and ad space, the company will donate some of it to IHS -- and will foot the cost of producing an IHS public-service announcement for the airwaves.
"When we kick this off ... our employees will probably want to pitch in something," Gray said. General Manager Scott Williams is donating $100 a month over and above the company's gift.
"There's not a lot we can do about a lot of things here, but this is something that can be done, economically," Gray said.
Budget time is drawing near for many companies that might be able to factor in some monthly giving.
IHS and other Hawaii nonprofits often see a big boost in giving around the holidays and then are left to stretch that holiday giving through the rest of the year.
"Our funds kind of fluctuate," said new Executive Director Connie Mitchell. Were businesses to pledge regular contributions, "we could count on that amount of money that would come in every month," she said. It would be "a tremendous blessing."
is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin. Call 529-4747, fax 529-4750 or write to Erika Engle, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210, Honolulu, HI 96813. She can also be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org