Oahu Family Services helps where it counts

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While the year 2000 was greeted with apprehension by many, The Salvation Army Family Services Office (FSO) on Oahu has found it to be a year with great promise and hope for those in need.

Founded in 1987 to help centralize emergency services, the Family Services Office has become a leader in providing material and financial emergency assistance on Oahu. A recent report by Aloha United Way ASK-2000, indicated the FSO is the leader among all emergency services referrals. Overall, it is the second most referred service agency in the state.

“Food and financial assistance are the two largest needs for which callers are requesting information,” said Dorothy Colby, Aloha United Way ASK-2000 program director. “There are very few that help with both and The Family Services Office is one of them. The holiday programs and other things they do make TSA the best referral,” she added.

The services offered by FSO continue to expand with increasing success in helping to resolve emergencies and establish self-sufficient families. For instance, a recently established workshop, “Spend Less, Eat Well, Feel Better,” is helping families and individuals to organize their resources, create a budget, improve household nutrition, and feel better overall. Created in cooperation with the University of Hawaii, the workshop was started by Chad Buchanan and Joda Derrickson PhD, RD, with the hopes of providing basic life skills to help people gain more control of their lives.

“The personalized attention we are able to provide assists individuals to identify and overcome their own problems,” said Derrickson. “The university’s extension services goal is to help identify community needs and develop appropriate programs. This partnership with FSO allows us to better support the individuals we serve,” she said.

After the program’s pilot year, among families that completed the workshop, 70 percent retained their housing for at least 6 months. In contrast, only 38 percent of those who did not attend the workshop retained their housing.

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