Christmas support takes many forms

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Army ‘nets’ Christmas dollars

by Daniel de Castro – 

VOLUNTEERS ‘NETTED’ CONTRIBUTIONS at intersections around Honolulu.

The whimsical hula titled Hukilau describes the local-style pastime of “net fishing.” This just might have found its modern-day application in Hawai‘i as it takes on an interesting twist to complement the traditional red kettles.

On a balmy Saturday, around 400 eager volunteers, armed with scoop fish nets, trooped to ten major street intersections around Honolulu and “netted” more than $17,000 in donations from motorists and passersby in just five hours. The first-ever event was a huge success and gave a much-needed boost to early holiday donations.

“With fewer and fewer bell ringing locations available to us, we had to think of other creative ways to supplement an anticipated reduced holiday income,” said Major Dave Hudson, divisional commander. “The scoop net idea was a wonderful way to engage motorists and passersby to make a donation to The Salvation Army. It’s a great Hawaiian version of extending the traditional red kettle.”

The “netting” project was tied with another Salvation Army sponsored program called the Lokahi (pronounced low-kah-hee) Giving Project, a collaborative holiday program with Hawai‘i’s leading television news station, KHON2, a Fox affiliate. Lokahi means “unity” in Hawaiian. As volunteers stood on street corners, the Lokahi project was being formally launched statewide with simultaneous musical concerts at all major shopping centers across the state. The 11-year-old program has become a tremendous source of holiday gifts and monetary donations that provide assistance to thousands of families in need.

Volunteers from Grace Bible Church and two local banks, Central Pacific and City Bank, provided assistance during the drive. Each volunteer was assigned two-and-a-half hour shifts waving and scooping donations from generous motorists as they waited for the green light on street corners. Once the nets got full, donations were deposited onto large bins that were securely placed inside car trunks and safeguarded by members of the Honolulu Advisory Board.

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