Lima Kokua was founded on July 29, 1962, less than three years after Hawaii gained statehood, as the whimsically-named and socially-minded Like Later Club. Ken Keen, Burt Rogers, Ron Lopez, Mew Michael, and Al Arnold were the original group of beach-going, brunch-munching, hangover-sympathizing friends, among others, who recognized the needs of malnourished and impoverished children in and around the United States and the Pacific Rim. They founded the club to raise funds and awareness, and to make a difference. They were also keenly aware of the need for, and sought to create, a safe social space for their larger group of friends, at a time when their sexual and gender identities were considered deviant by the society-at-large. The Like Later Club operated under that name until 1974 when the club was incorporated as Lima Kokua, Inc., a not-for-profit 501(c)3 corporation in the State of Hawaii. In July, 2007, our efforts on behalf of Hawai’i’s under-funded and under-appreciated were noted at our 45th anniversary celebration via formal proclamation of then-Governor Linda Lingle and Lt. Governor James “Duke” Aiona, Jr.
Originally, the group focused on sponsoring children through national organizations such as the Salvation Army Home School for the Blind in Jamaica, and the Pearl S. Buck Foundation which worked with children throughout Asia and the Pacific. In those early years, 37 children in various countries were sponsored by Lima Kokua. Subsequently, the members decided to focus the energies of the group on causes within the State of Hawaii, and to broaden our scope to include the needs of families and the elderly, as well.
Today, our members of are more united than ever in our commitment to service. When a member becomes aware of a need, they bring it to the membership for consideration. While a large portion of our work is with established organizations, members are also proud of the work we do quietly, behind the scenes, with individuals. Lima Kokua salutes the family with nine children whose father was recovering from an injury and didn’t think there was going to be a festive Christmas – but there was when we gently stepped in. Children and struggling families have received surprise Easter or Christmas baskets prepared by our members. Elderly individuals who have slipped through the cracks of government bureaucracy and red tape have found new hope because we recognized a need and stepped in to help with food and financial assistance.
The work of Lima Kokua is on-going, and our financial support comes from a variety of fundraising efforts such as the Great Aloha Fun Run, silent auctions, annual summer cook-offs, occasional bequests, membership dues, and other creative and easy-going social events. We have lent our helping hands in support of a wide variety of non-political causes for more than 50 years, without consideration to gender, race, ancestry, national origin, religion, disability, age, marital status, or sexual orientation, and we would be honored to make it through our next 50 years with your help.
Please take a moment to look at just a small sampling of the groups that Lima Kokua has been proud to support over the years, and consider contributing to our cause.