A Willingness to Help

Neighborhood Place of Puna tries not to turn anyone away. We primarily help families with underage children as well as pregnant and parenting teens. We run an emergency food pantry to help the hungry in our community. And we try to provide resources, referrals, and advocacy to those we cannot …

The Poverty Trap

As Americans, we are torn between two disparate images of poverty. One is the romantic poverty of Thoreau and Saint Francis, the holy poverty of simple lives. The other is vilified poverty, the poverty of the “welfare queen” and the “bum.” The holy poor live in stories and myth. The …

Making a Difference

In a rural community like Puna, physical isolation can be a hurdle to success and barrier to accessing even the most basic of resources.  Housing is relatively cheap, but transportation is not. This forces individuals and families who are in poverty and lack financial resource—those who need the most support—to …

The Insecurity of Poverty

Poverty is characterized by insecurity, instability, and stress. When a family does not have enough money to meet even the basic needs of housing, food, transportation, and medicine, they will, by necessity, go without at least one of these essentials for some period of time. A family in poverty will …

Supporting East Hawaii Families

2014 has been a hard year for Puna families.  In addition to the usual challenges of poverty, isolation, and transportation, Hurricane Iselle came ashore over Puna early in the morning of August 9th, felling trees, closing roads, and forcing many in Puna to live without power for days or weeks. …

Practicing Hospitality

Hospitality, the willingness to offer shelter and food to strangers, is an ancient practice. It is a virtue praised in many religious traditions and an ethic that Neighborhood Place of Puna tries to embody. This ethic was tested late in the day, on the eve of the Veterans’ day holiday, …

How Can I Help?

Yesterday I heard the heart breaking story of elementary school children filling their pockets with food from lunch at school on Fridays. This is at a school where over 90% of the children qualify for free or reduced lunch, which means that the vast majority of the students attending the …