HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - In 1978, Father Claude DuTeil started a so-called peanut butter ministry in Chinatown to help the homeless. Thirty-five years later, that start of the Institute for Human Services was celebrated with members of Du Teil's family in attendance.
All over the IHS service center on Kaaahi Street in Iwilei, hundreds of volunteers were celebrating by scraping, painting, fixing -- even washing cars to raise funds. Whatever needed to be done.
Meantime, 29 members of the late Episcopal priest's family also came to help -- and marvel at what has become of his simple ministry for the homeless.
"A lot of the things they're doing now, we were doing a little bit," said DuTeil's 91-year-old wife, Bert. "It's unbelievable that they've managed to keep it going and improved it and expanded it.
IHS has developed a reputation as an emergency homeless shelter. But it's current administration said its focus has evolved toward finding housing, employment and other help for the homeless.
"Last year, we served over five thousand people, but only about 15-hundred of them were actual shelter residents," said IHS executive director Connie Mitchell. "The rest of the people that we served were people that were already outside of the shelter or never came into the shelter. So we're doing some prevention."
Most of Saturday was spent in maintenance and repairs to the IHS service centers, and to honor Father DuTeil's service, which is being carried on by his family members.
"Our church goes to Austin Street Center, downtown Dallas, as we serve lunches there once a month," said son Bob DuTeil of Texas.
A great-grandson from Colorado has been growing and selling food, with the money raised going to IHS. "The first year I did pumpkins, which was 200 something (dollars)," said nine-year-old Maxwell Robinson. This past year, he raised another $250, which he donated to IHS Saturday.
The DuTeils left IHS and Hawaii in 1993, but their help has been welcomed at the agency. "We're really thankful that they continue to have a real interest in how we've been growing and what we continue to do in the community," said Mitchell.