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Lifestyle // Good Neighbors
Nicole Kato

Morgan-Star England

Photo from Anna Koethe

Photo from Anna Koethe

In 2012, Morgan-Star England raised $500 for Hawaii Meth Project, and just last year she was able to raise $1,000 for the organization.

Rather than ask for donations, England got down and dirty to collect cans and bottles for recycling.

“We would go dumpster diving,” says the 12-year-old. “I would go to my neighbor’s house and say, ‘Can I go dig in your trash cans and get bottles?’”

Not to worry though, England’s mom, Kara, says that gloves were worn during these dumpster-diving expeditions.

The can and bottle collections not only benefitted Hawaii Meth Project, but also enabled the England family to keep their community clean as they picked up recyclables during walks around their Kapolei neighborhood.

Cans and bottles filled the Englands’ garage, and father Eric was responsible for taking them to the recycling center. But before he does, home-schooled Morgan-Star takes a crack at math and counts and sorts each and every bottle and can.

“You’re supposed to count it to get more money,” Kara says. “It helps with our math, and as a home-schooled student you always want to do your math. Morgan-Star multiplies the bags, so it’s good fun.”

Kara and Morgan-Star are quick to note that they could not have raised the funds without the help of two organizations: Hallstrom Group and Kalaka Nui Inc., whose employees set up recycling bins to help young England’s efforts.

Her passion for Hawaii Meth Project stems from a chance meeting in 2012, when the organization had a booth at the 4th of July Spectacular at Schofield Barracks.

She volunteered right away. “I wanted to help educate people to not take drugs because that’s a pretty big thing here,” England says.

She also says that her mom inspired her to give back to her community. “When I was younger, my mom used to – she still does – collect food, toys and clothing for the homeless shelter down the road,” she says. “I was around 6 or 7, but I told her I wanted to have my own group to support, and I think this is the group (Hawaii Meth Project) that I want to stick with for a while.”

David Earles, executive director of Hawaii Meth Project, couldn’t be more proud of England.

“We do a lot of work to educate youths on the dangers of meth,” he says. “What Morgan-Star is doing here is talking to her friends and adults, she’s supporting our mission, and that is more powerful, in my mind, than me going out and getting a really large donation from any other business in this town. This is more important.”

England already has collected $120 so far this year, and is well on her way to reaching her goal of $1,200.

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