Big Island – Dec. 18, 2011 – Ten Big Island nonprofits will see a little cash come to their coffers after community members opted to donate their recyclable cans and bottles, rather than claiming the deposits. The $25,000, which comes from deposits and scrap value for beverage containers, was accumulated from “customers that come in and say, we don’t want the money,” said Jeri Pankey, HI-5 Redemption Coordinator with Business Services Hawaii.

The company won the most recent county recycling contract and collects cans and bottles at 10 sites around the island. When people dropping off cans and bottles for recycling choose not to collect the 5-cent deposits and the scrap value of the containers, usiness Services Hawaii allows them to select a nonprofit to which the money may be donated.

Not everyone names an organization, Pankey said. Some people just ask the company to choose. So Pankey saved the donations since April, then asked each recycling collection site’s employees to select a nonprofit organization in their respective community to receive the donation.

Representatives of the various organizations unanimously described the gifts as a pleasant holiday season surprise. “We would like to say mahalo to all of them,” Punana O Leo Waimea Site Coordinator Maluhia O’Donnell said. “Being a nonprofit and being a school, every little bit helps.” The funding will help repair classroom ceilings at the Hawaiian language immersion program’s campus, she added. Usually, students’ parents must raise money to cover those maintenance costs.

Wilma Place, with Ka Pa Hula of Waimaluhia, a halau recently started with the goal of teaching hula and mele (songs), said the group was very surprised by the donation. The halau was selected by the Keauhou recycling drop-off workers. “This was definitely a boost,” Place said.

Hawi donation recipient WaiOli Craniosacral will be able to give therapy sessions to at least five people who might not otherwise be able to afford the treatments because of the donation, co-owner Laura Moorehead said. Craniosacral therapy is a “light touch therapy that works with the central nervous system,” she said. The group works with children with autism, dyslexia, ADD and ADHD, as well as people of all ages who have post-traumatic stress disorder.

O Ka’u Kakou President Wayne Kawachi said the donation, designated by Waiohinu workers, will be useful for a number of the organization’s projects.
“We take care of cemeteries,” he said. “We are doing rock walls around the cemeteries. The money could go for that.” Or, he said, they could cover the cost of a couple of months’ rental of portable toilets at Punaluu Black Sand Beach or South Point, another of the organization’s costs. Another alternative, he said, would be to use the money for the projects the group undertakes helping senior citizens complete maintenance and safety projects around their homes.

Honokaa’s Brantley Center will be able to use the money to help pay for training programs that have suffered from state funding cuts, Direct Service Worker Kiana Molina said. “We are so very appreciative of the generosity of Business Services Hawaii,” Molina said. “It comes at a time of hardship.”

Hospice of Kona will direct the donation into its families in need program, Executive Director Laura Varney said. “That allows us to grant things to patients and their families,” she said. Those items include things like groceries, she added, or paying a household bill.

Puako workers selected Hospice of Kona. Funds donated to The Food Basket will be used at the organization’s East and West Hawaii locations, Point of Sales and Event Coordinator Taylin Smith said. “We’re very grateful,” Smith said. “With $1, we’re able to buy 9 pounds of food (because) we buy it wholesale.” That’s 22,500 pounds of food.

Other organizations receiving donations are HOPE Services, selected by the Kealakehe site workers, Keaau Youth Business Center, selected by the Keaau workers, and Puna Community Medical Center, selected by Pahoa workers.

Business Services Hawaii will distribute the funds this week.

Erin Miller. “Nonprofits benefit from HI-5 donations” West Hawaii Today, 18 Dec. 2011.