Seeing homeless people is a common experience that HPU students
have on Fort Street Mall. The River of Life Mission is one
way that students lend a helping hand to those in need and
perhaps make a difference in their lives.
The mission is a faith-based organization that has been helping
people who are down and out for the past 20 years. It started
by passing out meals from the back of a car. Today the mission
is known as a place of rescue, rehabilitation, and reintegration
for all in need.
Those who turn to the mission for help range from addicts,
the mentally ill, veterans, the elderly, and even those who
are not homeless but cannot afford to feed their families.
The mission supports all ages, races, religions, and educational
The River of Life Mission provides three meals a day, showers,
shaves, clothing, toiletries, medical and legal aid. Social
workers help the guests of the mission with everything from
managing their affairs to getting them a bus pass. Job training,
sewing classes, GED classes, and computer classes are also
offered, along with substance abuse counseling and chapel services.
The mission gives those in need the tools to get started, and
then helps them to begin their new lives.
The River of Life Mission has a staff that is there everyday
helping out, but volunteers are also crucial to running the
mission. Every semester the mission has HPU students who come
help serve meals.
It was such a great experience,” said Bridget Hall, nursing
student at HPU. “They would sit and tell me their life
stories. Many of them were not actually homeless, but were
just in a rough time in their lives and needed a little extra
Another way to help out is by donating old clothes or items
that you do not use anymore to the free clothing store at the
I think the River of Life is the best mission to donate to
because anytime I have donated something, I know someone will
use it. If I donate shoes one day, I’ll see someone walking
down the street wearing them the next day,” says Anthony
Marlin, vice president of the Project Management Club.
In 2005, the free store at the mission distributed over 100,000
articles of clothing, and overb 3,000 appliances and furniture
We offer many ways to help here and we are always looking for
volunteers,” says Shervelle Gardner, director of operations
at the mission. “People tend to think that Christmas
and Thanksgiving is the time when we need the most help, so
we receive an overabundance of volunteers during these times.
The mission needs more help from volunteers on the regular
days of the year.”
When the holiday season ends and people are not thinking about
volunteering as much, the problems that the needy face do not
disappear. The need for help is present all year round, and
any free time that you have to volunteer is be greatly appreciated.
The way that a student can get involved is as simple as calling
the mission and telling them you would like to help.
For more information visit the River of Life Mission Web site
at www.riveroflifemission.org or call 524-7656. It is located
on 101 N. Pauahi Street in Honolulu.