August 10, 2016 – Hawaii Tribune-Herald

roatry-back-packsCourtesy photo Hawaii Police Officer Van Reyes, second from left, is joined by Rotary Club of Hilo members, Reese Mates, Randy Hart and president and Marcia Prose after Reyes received 84 backpacks for keiki during a recent club meeting.



For the second consecutive year, the Rotary Club of Hilo purchased new backpacks for keiki that will be distributed at women’s and homeless shelters and transitional housing facilities around the Big Island.

This year, the club was able to obtain 84 backpacks ranging in styles from small, star-studded kindergarten sizes to rugged camo-patterned packs for older students.

The Police Department promotes an annual backpack drive, with all police stations serving as drop-off points for donations. The donated backpacks are then delivered to HOPE Services Hawaii for distribution to area keiki.

“Backpacks have been identified as the most requested nonfood item for charities in Hawaii,” according to the Hope Services website. This is the eighth year that this worthwhile project has been gathering and distributing backpacks to deserving children.”

“Once we heard about the need, we jumped right on the bandwagon.” said Reese Mates, Rotary Club of Hilo’s community service chairman. “Thanks go out to Mike Meyers, one of our members, for bringing the project to us last year.”

The Rotary Club of Hilo, celebrating its 96th anniversary this year, meets nearly every Friday at noon at the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel. For more information about the Rotary organization or Hilo club, visit