Lanakila Meals on Wheels gets help
Lanakila's Meals on Wheels program has raised more than half the money it needs to maintain delivery service to seniors for a year, with a $50,000 donation from the Island Insurance Foundation.
Lanakila President and Chief Executive Officer Marian Tsuji said the donations total raised in three weeks "is a real testament to the community" and shows the "importance of our seniors to the community."
Lanakila has raised more than $178,000 so far but still needs $172,000 more to avoid cutting off meals to the 173 elderly recipients it serves, she said.
Island Insurance was the first large company to answer Lanakila's request for help within days, offering a matching $25,000 grant June 21, Tsuji said.
Foundation President Colbert Matsumoto, who presented the $50,000 check to Tsuji at a news conference, said public response poured in to help the "most vulnerable members of our community." He called the fundraising "a remarkable achievement considering the short period of time."
"We have till the end of July to raise the rest" of the $350,000, or Tsuji will have to make the difficult decision of how many seniors need to be cut off from the service, he said. "It would be a real tragedy even for a single person to be cut from the program," Matsumoto added.
Tsuji said she was extremely pleased with the number of donations that came in from public and private agencies, students and individuals who were "really, really generous" with $5,000-to-$10,000 checks.
She was particularly moved by the number of "notes from seniors with crumpled dollar bills," who wanted to help those less fortunate," Tsuji said.
But she said Lanakila had to continue looking "for a permanent solution" to keep the program running because "seniors are the fastest-growing population in the state ... (and) so we won't be in the same situation in the future."
A representative of the McKinley Community School for Adults' student council also presented a check for $500 yesterday.