Episcopal churches launching a new outreach ministry to homeless on Maui

The four Episcopal churches on Maui have banded together with community partners to establish a new outreach ministry to the homeless on Maui.

The ministry, called A Cup of Cold Water, will deliver basic needs of water, nutrition, clothing and hygiene items to the homeless in different parts of the island through a “community care van” beginning Oct. 13 in South Maui.

Initially, the van will run three days a week – Sundays in Kihei and South Maui; Wednesdays in Central Maui including Wailuku, Waihee, Waiehu, Paukukalo, Kahului and Kanaha; and Saturdays in Lahaina and West Maui. Fifteen volunteers have signed on to participate as run leaders or team members and all have completed the extensive training for the work.

The name of the ministry is from Matthew 10:42, which reads: “whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple – truly I tell you, none of these will lose their reward.” It is estimated there are about 2,000 homeless people on Maui, according to a news release.

A group of Episcopalians from the four Maui congregations – Good Shepherd Church in Wailuku, Trinity by-the-Sea Church in Kihei, St. John’s Church in Kula and Holy Innocents Church in Lahaina – gathered little more than a year ago and laid the foundation for the outreach ministry. Their efforts were supported by the Right Rev. R. L. Fitzpatrick, bishop of Hawaii, and by the Diocesan Council, which granted $5,000 for Mission Beyond the Church.

The project also received a $15,000 United Thank Offering grant from the national Episcopal Church Women toward the cost of a van. A new 2012 Nissan NV 3500 high ceiling cargo van was purchased for $28,000 from the Tony Nissan Group of Honolulu, which outfitted the van with commercial shelving and paid the vehicle registration fees and shipping costs to Maui.

An anonymous local gift matching the United Thank Offering grant helped secure the purchase. The van arrived on Maui in August, and will be blessed by Fitzpatrick on Nov. 2.

Kekuhaupio “Keku” Akana, president of the board of directors, says, “This is a community effort and we eagerly look forward to other churches and community partners on the island joining the Cup of Cold Water team.”

Other board members include the Rev. Linda Decker, John Decker, Mary Lou Mellinger, K. Peter Lee, Mark Sitts, Paula Baldwin, Jay Jackson and Jean Fiddes. Fitzpatrick is ex-officio chairman of the board.

As the program grows, van runs will be expanded to other parts of the island, including East Maui and Upcountry. Akana has been coordinating with other outreach and social service groups so that A Cup of Cold Water’s runs are scheduled when others are not providing services to the homeless.

Congregations at the four Episcopal churches on Maui have been donating items that will be distributed to the homeless, including bottled water; caps and hats; T-shirts; rubber slippers and shoes; hygiene items including toothpaste, tooth brushes, lip balm, band aids, shampoo, hand sanitizer, soap, feminine hygiene products; and nonperishable snack items.

Five volunteers have taken responsibility for organizing the donated items, as well as purchasing supplies for the van runs.

More information about A Cup of Cold Water can be found at www.episcopalhawaii.org/Ministry%20Together/a-cup-of-cold-water.

People interested in learning more about this new ministry or becoming volunteers may call (808)-419-1637 or email acupofcoldwatermaui@gmail.com.

The ministry has been organized as a nonprofit corporation by the Episcopal Diocese in Hawaii.

Donations are tax-deductible and can be sent to A Cup of Cold Water, 2140 Main St., Wailuku 96793.