Food Pantry Ministry: Thanks to our friends at the Hawaii Foodbank, St. Elizabeth’s offers a food pantry that is open daily to those in need. A variety of foods are provided that are helpful to both the housed and the unhoused, including canned meats and vegetables, snacks, drinks, rice, pastas and more. The food pantry serves hundreds of people per week and is a significant help especially to families with children. Charles and Judy Kokubun, Collette and Harlan Arakawa and Aunty Patsy Ching are among those who work tirelessly to keep this ministry stocked and ready to roll!
Saturday Breakfast: Every Saturday morning at St. E’s you will hear the sizzle of bacon on the grill, the cracking of eggs into large mixing bowls and the sounds of laughter as volunteers mingle with our houseless guests for a hot start off the day right breakfast. Foot washing of our guests takes place at the back of the church hall, where folks not used to being touched by another human being can experience the warmth of God’s love for all people. Clothing and footwear is also distributed. The Lino Family heads this ministry up with tons of support from many folks, including many teens from our private and public schools.
Community Garden: About 5 years ago, St. E’s had a lawn fronting the church hall that was only used once a year for the Easter Egg hunt. It seemed like a waste of valuable space, so after much roto-tilling and irrigating and planting and growing, lo and behold, a community garden sprang to life! Over these many years, the garden has sprouted lettuce and cukes and basil of a million varieties and eggplant and kale and all kinds of mostly legal crops, all of which are harvested every Sunday and shared with the community for no charge at all…..a symbol of the abundance God provides for us, and a foretaste of the day promised by Isaiah “On this mountain the Lord Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine—the best of meats and the finest of wines.” Come by and stick a seed in the ground and see what blooms!
Laundry Aloha: Having clean clothing is something most of us take for granted. But if you live on the streets, having clean clothes is a real challenge. Someone once said that it’s very expensive to be poor, and one look at the cost of doing a load of laundry at the Laundro-Mat brings that fact home. So, once a month, members of the congregation prepare packets of laundry detergent, a roll of quarters and a note of God’s love for the benefit of those in need. Some 80 packages are delivered each month, washing 160 extra large capacity loads of laundry.
Working with our friends from Micronesia and the Marshall Islands: The long suffering people from Micronesia and the Marshall Islands saw their homelands devastated by the horror of nuclear bomb testing and the resultant radiation poisoning seeking health care and education for their children and a better life for their future generations, St. E’s hosts We Are Oceania, an outreach organization funded by the U.S. Interior Dep’t., which assists our migrant friends in obtaining health insurance, housing and jobs. We have also organized this community seeking to have them become eligible for Medicaid (they are the only people excluded from Medicaid participation in our country) with monthly marches to the federal building and regular meetings with our congresspersons and senators. (Photo of march)
FACE and Housing Now!: St. Elizabeth’s is a founding member of Faith Action for Community Equity and an active member in the Housing Now! Coalition, an advocacy group made up of over 20 churches, unions and non-profits focused on solving the housing crisis in Hawaii. FACE and Housing Now! organized several rallies at both the State Capitol and City Hall, urging systemic changes and significant financing for our housing needs. These efforts, along with those of many others, saw unprecedented public resources being devoted to the creation of affordable housing and to a broad community awareness that business as usual will be a disaster for Hawaii’s working people when it comes to owning or renting a home. We believe we are called not only to feed the hungry woman standing before us, but to try to change the structure of society that cause that woman to be hungry in the first place.
Container Home/Showers/Toilets: St Elizabeth’s provides a converted shipping container that houses families and singles for two to three months at a time, requiring the residents to receive services to help them get into employment and transitional housing. We also provide shower facilities and toilets for those who need them at no charge. We try, and often fail, but continue to try, to recognize the face of Our Lord in the least and the lost….