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Assistance League Volunteers

(from front left) Doris Harrison, Louise Frye, Dee Andrews Katherine Brown

One recent morning, Dee Andrews, Katherine Brown, Louise Frye and Doris Harrison arrived at the downtown offices of Assistance League of Hawaii, gearing up for a day of volunteer work as they do regularly. All longtime volunteers with Assistance League, these dedicated women all are over 90 years old.

“They inspire the rest of us,” says board president Dot Mason. “When I look at them working, I think, well, I can’t sit around and whine about anything.”

Assistance League is an all-volunteer nonprofit that conducts philanthropic and educational programs with an emphasis on underserved children and families. The organization is comprised of hundreds of chapters nationwide, and Assistance League of Hawaii (ALH) was established in 1971. Some of ALH’s programs include providing new clothes for low-income schoolchildren, educating students about endangered species, tutoring students and donating children’s clothes to new mothers. ALH also runs a thrift store, which generates funds for the organization to run its projects.

Over the years, Andrews, Brown, Frye and Harrison all have served in leadership positions and participated in ALH’s wide range of programs.

“It is a wonderful organization. I am not able to do all that I would like to do, but I am happy to help,” Brown says.

These days, even if some of them may have certain limitations, the women all still contribute in a myriad of ways. Andrews and Brown work in the thrift shop, sorting and pricing items, and Frye sells goods in the shop. Harrison, who says she can no longer participate as much as she’d like because of vision problems, delivers rolls of quarters so other volunteers can pay for parking in the area. She also provided funds for ALH to buy an elevator for its office building.

For all of these women, it’s a desire to help others that keeps them working. “My goal is to continue to do what I can to keep ALH alive and well and well-endowed with money so that we can continue to do our good work,” says Andrews, who has been volunteering with AL since the 1960s.

“It is fun, and I love helping people,” adds Frye, who drives all the way from her home in North Shore to work at ALH.

“(Providing) those quarters is just a small thing, but it is help, and it makes me feel good to be able to do it,” Harrison says. “ALH has been such a joy, and I have loved every minute of it.”

No matter how much joy ALH has brought to their lives, it’s clear through talking with other volunteers that Andrews, Brown, Frye and Harrison all have provided much more to ALH.

“These ladies are the backbone of us. They really care. They voice their opinions. They work hard,” Mason says. “They are just such an active part of Assistance League.”

For more information on ALH, visit hawaii.assistanceleague.org or call 946-1505. The thrift shop is located at 1505 Young St.