Food items from Food Bank Hawaii senior food boxes distributed at St. John the Baptist Church hall. Photo: Anna Weaver


“I strongly encourage all to give generously to this CCHD collection as a way to witness to Jesus. Your support for this very important collection helps empower vulnerable people living in poverty to transform their families and communities into reflections of the Kingdom of God.” (Bishop Larry Silva, letter to the diocese for the 2019 Campaign for Human Development-CCHD. See page 2.)

The holidays are just around the corner, time not only to give thanks for our blessings but also to reflect on how we can be a blessing for others, especially the vulnerable. More than 40 million people in the United States live in poverty, struggling for survival, existing on the edge, and having to choose among basic necessities like buying food, paying the rent or going to the doctor. In the U.S. more than a half million persons are homeless, and one in five children lives in poverty.

The week before Thanksgiving, Nov. 17-24, is Hunger and Homelessness Awareness week in the U.S. Sunday, Nov. 17 is the third World Day of the Poor, and Nov. 23-24 is the weekend for the annual Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD), the domestic anti-poverty program of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

CCHD’s work is to carry out the mission of Jesus Christ “To bring good news to the poor … release to prisoners … and let the oppressed go free.” (Luke 4:18) By funding economic and community development programs, CCHD helps low-income people participate in decisions that affect their lives, families and communities.

Here in Hawaii, CCHD has supported a wide range of projects working with the most vulnerable. The campaign has helped HOPE Services Hawaii Inc. lead numerous efforts that respond to the needs of the poor and homeless on the Big Island. On Nov. 8, HOPE Services blessed its newest shelter, Keolahou, the newly renovated old Hilo Memorial Hospital, which has 60 beds for homeless men along with computer workstations that support employment and education opportunities, and a collaboration of community programs providing a range of social services.

HOPE is currently putting a new roof on the homeless kupuna shelter at the St. Joseph Parish property in Hilo. It also runs the Friendly Place homeless shelter and resource center in Kona, and provides supplies for Catholic parish food pantries across the Big Island. In December, HOPE expects to have its first prefabricated house delivered to the site of their kupuna housing area next to the Sacred Heart transitional shelter by Sacred Heart Church in Pahoa.

Campaign for Human Development grants have also helped the Pua Foundation work with the Women’s Correctional Community Center in Kailua. Pua reunites women with their families and transitions them back into the community. The foundation coordinates the Going Home Consortium, which so far this year has served 228 women from the WCCC, 15 caregivers and 35 youth through volunteers from 14 Oahu parishes. The volunteers have contributed 1,500 hours, providing welcome baskets and transportation for women being released from detention, and helping them secure needed legal documents, employment and medical services.

The Pua Foundation also manages Mercy House, a transitional shelter for formerly incarcerated women that also provides job training to become peer specialists who in turn help other women returning from prison. Pua also oversees the Waimanalo Community Farming Project, which teaches women inmates the skills to grow fruits and vegetables to share with neighboring St. George Parish food pantry, which serves the hungry and homeless on the Windward side of Oahu.

Both HOPE Services and the Pua Foundation incorporate formerly homeless and formerly incarcerated persons in their organizations following the basic CCHD principle of overcoming poverty through empowerment.

For more information on CCHD, go to For more about CCHD-funded work in Hawaii, please visit our website

Mahalo and Happy Thanksgiving to all,

Your friends at the Office for Social Ministry

Read the article direct through the Hawaii Catholic Herald here.