Wednesday | April, 01, 2015
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Benefiting The Arc

Mark your calendars — The Arc of Kona, a local organization that helps people with disabilities reach their full potential, will hold its 17th annual Bazaar and Custom Car and Bike Show on Nov. 23 in Kealakekua.

From 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. attendees of the free event can enjoy live entertainment, food, a silent auction featuring art, hotel stays and tours, a rummage sale, as well as vendors offering items including jewelry, handmade clothing and farm products. The event is held at The Arc of Kona’s facility on Konawaena School Road.

A custom car and bike show will take over the Konawaena High School parking lot offering the public an array of beauties to peruse.

All proceeds — including vendor and show registration fees — benefit the organization and its many services offered to help those with disabilities achieve the fullest possible independence and participation in the community, said Gretchen Lawson, the organization’s president and chief executive officer.

“It’s just a fun, family day and we’d love to have people come see what it is that we do at The Arc of Kona,” said Lawson. “We invite the entire community to come up and meet some of the (program’s) participants.”

The bazaar began in 1997 as a means to not only raise funds for The Arc of Kona but also to promote the organization in the community. The Arc of Kona opted for the family friendly day event over an evening gala because “it’s just not our character,” Lawson said.

“It was really just an off-the-top-of-the-head way to do a family event,” Lawson said, noting the event was among the first Christmas-associated bazaars in the area. “It’s a real South Kona event.”

Through services ranging from assisted and independent living, therapeutic skill development, work placement and retention and adult day programs for the disabled, The Arc of Kona served 161 clients between July 1, 2012, and June 30 with a staff of 107 — 21 full-time and 86 part-time employees who handle direct service work — and a handful of volunteers, said Lawson.

The Arc of Kona serves people with psychiatric, orthopedic, developmental and intellectual disabilities, said Lawson, who noted those with intellectual disabilities make up the largest category of people served. The organization in December 2012 received its fourth-straight three-year accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities. That followed about a year’s worth of review of the organization’s policies and records, as well as on-site interviews of clients, community leaders and employees.

Known as The Arc of Kona since 2005, the organization began in 1962 as the Kona Chapter of the Big Island Association to Help Retarded Citizens. In 1966, the name was changed to Kona Krafts and in 1970, the organization moved to its current facility that features a workshop, nursery and other rehabilitation amenities at the top of Konawaena School Road.

Operating on $3.4 million annually, the organization receives county, state, federal and United Way funds, as well as private contributions from foundations and individuals. It operates group homes in Captain Cook and Ocean View, as well as a rural office in Honokaa, Lawson said.

The charity also receives reimbursement from Hawaii’s Medicaid insurance program for clients who have been certified disabled by the state and, for some clients, reimbursement from private insurance companies.

To donate items for the Trash and Treasure Booth rummage sale, call Maggie at The Arc of Kona at 323-2626. To register a vehicle for the car and bike show, for $10, call 323-2626. The deadline to register and donate items is Wednesday.

For more information or to donate to The Arc of Kona, visit arcofkona.org or call 323-2626. Donations by credit card are accepted via the website and by phone. Donations can also be mailed to the organization at The Arc of Kona, P.O. Box 127, Kealakekua, HI, 96750.