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Homeless population focus of campaign

November is National Homeless Awareness Month and Bridging The Gap, a neighbor island coalition of more than 25 nonprofit service providers, is launching a monthlong campaign to raise awareness of the plight of those experiencing homelessness on the islands of Maui, Hawaii island and Kauai.

On Maui, there are five service providers and they are asking for community support this month. Ka Hale A Ke Ola Homeless Resources Centers asks the community to support with the following donation of items:

• Help from the Maui community to prepare 400 Thanksgiving meals in a commercial kitchen.

• Grocery store gift cards for Thanksgiving meals.

• Gift cards or holiday gifts for families including toys for children of all ages.

• Clothes and hygiene kits for its mobile hygiene van, which will travel three times a week to homeless encampments in November.

• Businesses and organizations who can help to identify potential applicants who are facing eviction and need to apply for rent subsidies.

Contact Misty Bannister at (808) 446-8131 or misty.bannister@khako.org to help this month.

Family Life Center on Maui is seeking gift cards to provide food and supplies to individuals and families. These can be sent to FLC at 95 S. Kane St., Kahului, 96732.

Maui estimates the total number of homeless households to be 309, of which 126 (41 percent) are unsheltered.

More than 1,361 are experiencing homelessness on these islands this holiday season. About 28 percent are children. Each year, 3.5 million people end up sleeping in parks, under bridges, in shelters or in cars. More than 1 in 5 children live in poverty. More than 49 million Americans are at risk of suffering from hunger.

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