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Project Vision Hawai‘i, Salvation Army partner to increase services

LIHU‘E — Registered Nurse Pat Coon had an answer for the chilly mornings that are a part of holiday weather in Hawai‘i.

“Are you cold?” asked Coon, a part of the five-member Project Vision Hawai‘i Kaua‘i team that partners with Ho‘ola Lahui Hawai‘i and The Salvation Army relief efforts, on Tuesday at The Salvation Army Lihu‘e Corps on Hardy Street.

“These are from the clothes I’ve been collecting since the summer. Now that we have chilly weather, we can use these,” said Coon, who is in charge of open wound care that comes along with the mobile hygiene unit that visits The Salvation Army Lihu‘e and Hanapepe Corps and All Saints Episcopal Church in Kapa‘a on a weekly basis.

“I’ve been busy from the start,” Coon said. “When I came in, there were people who needed medical attention but did not get help because of whatever reason they had. We took care of them, and many of them are happy today.”

On Tuesday, Coon said Susan Oshiro-Taogoshi of Ho‘ola Lahui Hawai‘i was also present, discussing an individual’s medical needs over the hot lunch provided by The Salvation Army.

Since its inception as a mobile shower intended for the houseless in 2021, Project Vision Hawai‘i has continued its program, registering and providing hot showers for about 50 individuals a week spread over its three primary scheduled stops.

The hot shower program has also grown and expanded to offer additional social service functions, including open wound care, COVID-19 vaccines and testing, and other vaccines, vision screening, and more that has resulted in growth of its footprint at the different sites.

The need for clothing stemmed from the fact that individuals taking advantage of the free hot showers had no clean change of clothing to get into. With help from several community homes and programs, Project Vision now has its own limited supply program.

Project Vision’s mission includes increasing access to health and human services.

Pua Cobb-Adams and Shaylen Silva joined the team to increase and improve access to vision screening, and Farah Aquino and Daniel La Manna are the latest new faces on the team that provides more than hot showers with free soaps and towels for anyone in need.

The partnering with The Salvation Army also increases The Salvation Army’s ability to provide more than just a hot meal to people in need.

“We have a new vision van coming soon,” Cobb-Adams said. “It’s not like the previous big van, but something more compact and mobile to better do vision screening in the community. We also have our big gala fundraiser coming up to help with all of the services Project Vision provides on the island of Kaua‘i.”

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Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 808-245-0453 or dfujimoto@thegardenisland.com.
Source: The Garden Island

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