Help keiki prepare for school with donations to Ready to Learn program

The Ready to Learn program in Hawaiʻi is collecting donations and school supplies for keiki in low-income and houseless families. Photo Credit: Vinicius Imbroisi

Helping Hands Hawaiʻi and American Savings Bank are partnering for the eighth year to help Hawaiʻi’s keiki prepare for school through the Ready to Learn program.

Founded in 1998 in partnership with US Sen. Daniel and Maggie Inouye, the Ready to Learn Program supports children from low-income and houseless families by giving them free educational kits with essential school supplies.

The goal is for 1,000 students to receive the kits, which are valued at about $30 and contain an array of the most common items found on the Department of Education’s back-to-school lists.

In 2005, Helping Hands Hawaiʻi assumed statewide administration of the Ready to Learn program and has continued to perpetuate the Inouyes’ vision.

The public also can support the program. Ann Teranishi, president and chief executive officer at American Savings Bank, said: “We invite the community to join us in improving education for local students by making a donation at any of our locations across the state.”

All American Savings Bank branches in the state are collecting money and supplies from June 13 to July 15. Donations to branches on Maui will be earmarked for distribution through Helping Hands Hawaiʻi’s on-island partner Maui United Way.

For a list of bank branches, visit 

Additionally, the public can donate to the Ready to Learn program using the following methods: 

  • Online: Visit and click on the “Donate” button to make a gift. Select “Ready to Learn” from the drop-down menu. 
  • Mail: Checks should be made payable to Helping Hands Hawaiʻi and mailed to: Ready to Learn Program, c/o Helping Hands Hawaiʻi, 2100 N. Nimitz Hwy., Honolulu, HI 96819. Write “Ready to Learn” in the memo line.
  • In-Person: Cash, check and school supply donations are accepted at Helping Hands Hawaiʻi on Tuesdays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (no appointment needed).

The items needed to assemble school supply kits are:

  • backpacks
  • ballpoint pens (black or blue)
  • composition books (wide ruled)
  • crayons (24 count)
  • dry erase markers
  • earbuds with microphone
  • erasers
  • face masks
  • folder papers
  • glue (4 ounces)
  • hand sanitizers
  • highlighters (yellow)
  • markers (assorted colors)
  • pencils (colored and No. 2)
  • permanent markers (black)
  • portfolios (2 pockets)
  • USB flash drives

Individuals, organizations and corporations also can organize their own fundraising drives or volunteer by completing a Community Partner Form. A Ready to Learn team member will follow up with additional information and assistance. A list of Ready to Learn community partners and donation drop-off locations will be listed at as information becomes available.

For more information, contact 

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