Jake Jacobus wants the Maui community to be aware of a sad, quiet reality in our schools.
The president of the Maui County Chapter of Street Bikers United Hawaii wrote that as many as 75 percent of Maui County elementary school students in kindergarten through fifth grade report for their first day of school with little or none of the supplies required for their grade level.
Some don't even have shoes to wear.
"Regardless of their situations at home, our children deserve to have all of the tools that they need to begin a quality education," he noted.
"Our teachers do what they can - and they deserve more credit than can be bestowed on them here - but our teachers cannot solve this problem by themselves. It is up to a caring community as a whole."
Time is running out - the 2013-14 school year begins for most Maui County schools on or about Aug. 5 - so the Maui County Chapter of Street Bikers United Hawaii is currently holding its 2013 "Tools-4-Tots" school supply drive.
Last year, SBU raised more than $6,000 and was able to deliver fully stuffed age- and gender-appropriate backpacks stuffed with supplies and rubber shoes to 50 children on Molokai, 45 in Hana and more than 300 keiki throughout other areas of Maui, with emphasis on homeless shelters and public housing projects.
Jacobus is correct in calling the drive "an important cause for our entire county and worthy of some measure of effort by all of us."
SBU, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, will distribute donated funds directly to shelters, families and other groups associated with the school supply drive effort.
To make a tax-deductible donation through Aug. 30, visit sbumaui.org/tools or mail a contribution to SBU Maui, P.O. Box 532640, Kihei, HI 96753. A printable receipt for your tax records will be provided.
"Please find it in your heart and your wallets to make a tax-deductible donation for our keiki's sake today. After all, they are our future leaders and decision-makers. Together, we can provide them the tools that they need to succeed," he concluded.