HAIKU - To help with funding, a nonprofit organization that aids children and adults involved in foster, adoptive and guardianship relationships will be opening a thrift store in Haiku on Friday.
They have submitted a request for county funding for $22,500 - $2,500 less than its appropriation in the current fiscal year. The status of the request has not been determined as yet, said Alda St. James, executive director of the nonprofit organization.
The Keiki Kokua Thrift Store will be open every day in the Haiku Marketplace, Suite 157B. Hours are Monday to Saturday, 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1 to 4 p.m., and Sundays, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 1:30 to 5 p.m.
Keiki Kokua photo
Jane Eldridge (from left), Alda St. James and Sunny Tremont check the quality of the clothes on the rack as the Keiki Kokua Thrift Store readied for its “soft opening” on Friday. The new thrift store is located at Haiku Marketplace, Suite 157B.
Items for sale include assorted sizes of blouses, shirts, skirts, jeans, gowns and even wedding dresses. There also are baby items, shoes, jewelry, toys, blankets, books, DVDs, backpacks, small furniture and knicknacks.
Rosemary Widener, the manager of the thrift store, said store staffers wanted to sell furniture as well but the 940-square-foot space they have is too small. She was lamenting the lack of storage space for the items already donated.
Friday will be a "soft opening" for the thrift store; a grand opening is planned for a later date, said Widener.
The organization that fills the gaps in service for foster care and helps parents and children in adoptive, guardianship and other nontraditional families had received $25,000 last year from the county, said Widener.
Opening the thrift store is an effort by Keiki Kokua to "show that we are doing something on our own" to be self-supporting, she said. The nonprofit organization is working to have the county funding restored and looking to garner grants.
Keiki Kokua fills a "big hole" in the state foster care system, offering referrals to foster parents and children and helping them fill out forms, said Widener. Keiki Kokua also provides needed items such as suitcases for children, who have their belongings in trash bags as they travel from home to home.
The nonprofit organization, started more than five years ago by Jim and Alda St. James, also provides college scholarships and a newsletter, organizes two social gatherings annually and runs a Kokua Line to answer questions from the parents, guardians and children. Keiki Kokua also helps with referrals to child care providers, who offer reduced rates and other businesses that have free or reduced cost items.
"Children and parents know they can come to Keiki Kokua when they need help," Widener said.
The nonprofit organization provides help to children and parents involved in foster, adoptive and guardianship situations. Keiki Kokua also aids grandparents raising children and other relative caregivers and former foster youth who are making the transition into adulthood.
For more information on Keiki Kokua, the thrift store or to make a donation, call 573-4972. Store volunteers are also needed.
Information is also available at the Keiki Kokua Web site at www.keikikokua.org.
* This story includes corrections from the original published on Wed., Feb. 18, 2009. It incorrectly reported the status of county funding for the organization and also included an incorrect phone number.