Hawaii may have been remote from the beginnings of World War I in June 1914, but residents felt compassion for all victims of the war. The Territory contributed generously to war reflief efforts. While the US remained a neutral party, Hawaii, home to citizens of several combatant countries, donated to the British, Japanese, and German Red Cross groups. At a national level, in 1914 the American Red Cross responded to war in Europe by giving assistance to soldiers of all countries.
When in 1917 the US joined Britain, France, Japan, and their allies against Germany and her partners, America and Hawaii refocused. America’s Red Cross took on a quasi-military role, governed by a War Council headed by Pres. Woodrow Wilson, and serving mostly US military and civilians. The Red Cross supplied 2 of every 3 Navy nurses and 4 out of 5 Army nurses. Red Cross World War I efforts were transformed from a humanitarian to a patriotic endeavor.
Hawaii and 616 Elks pitched in. By Sept. 1917, Hawaii’s War Relief Committee had merged with the Red Cross. Under A. L. Castle, the Red Cross membership drive challenged itself to surpass Hawaii’s Japanese Red Cross members (7500). On Oahu, the Ad Club, with many Elk members, organized the business districts, and women’s groups had charge of all else. Hakalau Plantation’s Japanese workers got in early with $302 spontaneously collected. Promotions included newspaper ads targeted to each economic and ethnic group. A 2-page ad signed by “Liliuokalani and J. K. Kalanianaole” (“No True Hawaiian Will Evade It”) was accompanied by a full-page thank you from Pres. Wilson “to express to Queen Liliuokalani my personal appreciation.” The drive culminated in a territory-wide, day-long event. For every 500 new members ($1 to $100) the Hawaiian Electric plant whistle let off a blast. Queen Liliuokalani handed over her own check for $100 to become the 8000th member, having previously sewn and donated a Red Cross flag. Final tally: 16,330 in 1 day enrolled in “the Army all can join.” 
Elk fundraising ideas for the Red Cross included a club dance and a raffle scheme involving a rabbit fur coat. Both failed. The lodge offered its rooms for Red Cross meetings and for fundraiser theatrical rehearsals without success. Finally, the lodge donated $200 to demonstrate their support. On May 6, 1918, Elks were honored to carry their service flag in the Red Cross parade initiating a second fundraising drive.
One Red Cross project recruited citizen knitters to make warm clothing for military men. Elks 616 voted to offer the lodge room for knitting parties. When the Red Cross solicited cash for a Wool Fund, 616 gave $148.50 in 12 months.
Across the Territory Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls took up their needles to warm American soldiers. School children, benevolent societies, churches, firemen and cab drivers setup knitting goals and competed against rivals. They finished a whopping 58,241 items using specific patterns issued by the Red Cross. The nuns at Sacred Hearts Convent turned out superior socks. Mother Laurence told reporters the Sisters were well qualified, making their own socks for years, even knitting in the dark!
Hawaii’s special knitting corps was the Daughters of Hawaiian Warriors.  Members began clicking their needles toward 450 sweaters, watch caps, and socks on March 20, 1918, at Princess Kawananakoa’s home. After a 3 hour knit-in by 75 women, each departed with a yarn allotment supplied by the Princess and other ranking members of the group. Many members had sons or close relatives “in Uncle Sam’s service. …Enthusiasm is spontaneous because [the sweaters] are to clothe our boys of Hawaii…”
In a triumphant pre-shipment photo, the Daughters of Warriors ‘branded’ their finished knitting with their initials (DW in socks). When Ad Club members later saw the photo in Ralph Kuykendall’s official history of Islanders’ war efforts, they were surely moaned, “Wish I’d thought of that.”
Anita Manning, Lodge Historian
Advertiser Sep 21, 23, 30, 1917; Mar 21, 1918
Kuykendall, R. Hawaii in the World War. 1928. Hist. Com. Terr of Hawaii
Minutes 616 Jun 15, 28-9, Jul 6, 20, Dec 7, 1917; Feb 1, 22, Mar 15, Apr 16, May 3, Jul 12, Nov 6, 1918
Star-Bulletin Sep 18, 28, 29, 1917
 Advertiser Jan 30, 1918  Advertiser, May 13, 1917  Star Bulletin, Sep 17, 1917  Advertiser May 12 1917  Advertiser, May 26, 1917  Advertiser Sep 22, 1917, This Way Out!  Advertiser Jan 23-24, 1918. WW I’s “soldiers must be clean” approach strongly contrasts with the official wink given vice in World War II Honolulu.