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For whatever reason, youth that have detached from their families or support group, head towards Waikiki. Perhaps it’s the excitement of the beach activities, the nightlife, or the constant flow of people that draws these youth in. The harsh reality quickly sets in when they realize their money has run out and they find themselves hungry, cold, and sleeping in unsecured locations. Things normally take a sharper downward turn from that point.

Hale Kipa / Waikiki Health’s Youth Outreach program (YO!) is strategically located in Waikiki, specifically to assist and support unsheltered youth. At YO! youth can always find a hot meal, washing facilities, secure lockers for their valuables and documents, basic medical needs, and information to resources to assist them out of an unstable situation. Also available are pantry items that they need to survive: Roll-on luggage, backpacks, personal hygiene items, gift cards, blankets, towels, clothing, infant supplies.

YO! normally collects and distributes 300 pantry items every year. This is distributed throughout the year but most of these items are distributed during an annual holiday event aimed at bringing holiday warmth to the streets of Waikiki. Unfortunately, last year, the donation of pantry items dropped drastically. We assumed due to the general public’s hardships brought on by the pandemic.

Mahalo to the generous staff at Kaiser Permanente Windward Clinics for saving the day with donated pantry items. These items have helped stabilize unsheltered youth who were in the process of formulating a better solution to their unsheltered situation. The 2022 holiday event hosted 126 very grateful attendees from our community.