Angels on wheels

Recently, A Cup of Cold Water (ACCW) Community Care-Van held its 2nd annual gathering to give thanks for the success of its outreach ministry. In October 2013, the four Episcopal churches on Maui, Good Shepherd, Holy Innocents, St. John’s and Trinity-by-the-Sea, moved on the vision of one man. Keku Akana felt called to serve the growing homeless population on the island. It was in that spirit that Akana, retired Maui County Deputy Chief of Police, formed ACCW. At present, a rotating team of volunteers works to improve the situation of the disadvantaged in the community.

“Our most important program measure is that we offer nourishment and hope to our fellow citizens and neighbors,” said Akana. “We realize these simple acts of ‘no-strings-attached aloha’ are more necessary than ever. We cannot help everyone, but we can help someone. We are not here to solve poverty; we are here to comfort while we look for ways to minimize poverty and restore human dignity.”

The all-volunteer outreach ministry includes participants from various church groups, Hongwanji missions and those with no particular affiliation. ACCW, making three runs a week, visits Central Maui each Wednesday, Lahaina on Saturdays and South Maui on Sundays. In addition to pantry items, the van delivers clothing and slippers, tarps and towels, first aid and hygiene items, toys and books. ACCW also helps clients locate and maintain partnerships with other Maui County support organizations. The volunteer tasks are varied, including van drivers and riders, storage and distribution room organizers, administrators and others.

ACCW is a shining example of how dedicated people can bring compassion into the public arena to serve the common good. “Many of these people, 600-700 homeless men, women and children each month, have no one to lean on, no one to go to,” said Akana. “Outreach is a boomerang that echoes back into our own lives, reminding us that anyone of us could be that person in need. Unfortunately, homelessness on Maui is increasing, not decreasing.” Please contact ACCW (acupofcoldwatermaui@gmail.com) if you are interested in learning more.

ACCW’s most important program measure is that we offer nourishment and hope to our fellow citizens and neighbors. We cannot help everyone, but we can help someone while we look for ways to minimize poverty and restore human dignity.

Keku Akana, A Cup of Cold Water

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