It is easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season and forget what the “Season of Giving” is all about. The focus switches to the newest iPhone and the shiniest diamond that is wanted under the tree. Instead of thinking about oneself during the holidays, think of those who would be happy with just a warm blanket and a hot meal for just one night. Luckily in Hawaii, there are many opportunities for members of the community to give back to those less fortunate and bring the holiday spirit to those in need.
The Lokahi Giving Project
Founded in 1985, the Lokahi Giving Project helps struggling Hawai‘i families who face life crises and emergency situations beyond their control. Members of the community can adopt a family or group (seniors, people with mental or physical challenges and at-risk teens and children) during the holidays and donate goods and items that they are in need of. The foundation accepts new and lightly used items, as well as cash equivalents, such as grocery gift cards, checks and certificates.
Chaminade freshman, Jackie Abad, and her coworkers at her job will be adopting a family this holiday season.
“I am really excited to get some gifts for them,” Abad said. “I really like the idea of my team getting together and helping out others who are in need. I hope we bring smiles to their faces.”
Volunteers are welcome to help out at the KHON2 News Station, the Lokahi Distribution Center, special events and pick-up and delivery of items. Another way to help out the Lokahi Giving Project is to join the Honolulu Marathon 10k Race Day Walk on Dec. 11. All entry fees will be donated to the Lokahi Giving Project. For more information on the Lokahi Giving Project, visit www.lokahigivingproject.com.
Institute for Human Services
The Institute for Human Services is a homeless shelter on O`ahu that provides a place to stay and support for homeless and at-risk peoples. During the holiday season, instead of sending out typical Christmas cards, IHS has special cards that members of the community can send to their friends and family and help someone in need at the same time. With the donation of $10, IHS will send a Christmas card to friends and family whom the giver wishes to donate on behalf of. The donation from one card covers part of the food and shelter for a guest at the shelter for one night. What better gift than the gift of giving. For more information on IHS, visit www.ihshawaii.org.
Kapi`olani Medical Center
Hawai‘i State Ballet’s “The Nutcracker” will be showing on Dec. 10 at the Dr. Richard T. Mamiya Theater on the Saint Louis Campus. A Portion of the ticket sales will be donated to KMC, Hawai`i’s Children’s Miracle Network Hospital. For ticket prices and more information, visit www.honoluluboxoffice.com.
Hawai`i Food Bank
The Hawai`i Food Bank is a non-profit agency that collects and distributes perishable and non-perishable foods to 250 member agencies and food banks on the Big Island, Mau`i and Kaua`i. Community members can help the Hawai`i Food Bank exponentially this holiday season just by grocery shopping. Until Dec. 24, during the “Help us End Hunger (Every Bag Counts) Food Drive,” Safeway shoppers can purchase pre-made bags of groceries for $10 that will be sent to the food bank.
CUH junior, Nicholas Kurosawa, decided to donate a bag this year to the food bank.
“It was so easy,” Kurosawa said. “For only $10 they’ll be getting a lot of food. I feel like Santa.”
Inside a bag is Safeway stuffing, Safeway long grain rice, Safeway cranberry sauce, Premium saltine crackers, Safeway spaghetti or macaroni, Kraft macaroni and cheese dinner, Chicken of the Sea chunk white tuna and Pantry Essentials canned vegetables. A donation of just $10 could help feed a family a delicious holiday dinner for an evening.
Kraft Foods and Check Out Hunger
Another way to help the Hawai`i Food Bank is with the “Kraft Foods and Check Out Hunger” campaign. At local grocery stores around the islands, there are green tags at the checkout stands that shoppers can add to their grocery tab when purchasing their items. There are three different tags with different amounts on them in which shoppers can buy. The ticket costing $2.81 can feed a child breakfast for an entire week. The ticket for $12.43 can feed a senior citizen lunch for a month. For only $16.84, a shopper can feed a family dinner for a week. A simple stop to the grocery store could help the needy in the community for much less than what is probably in one’s shopping cart. Participating grocers are Times Super Markets, Safeway, Don Quijote, Tamura’s locations, Kokua Market Natural Foods, KTA on the Big Island and Big Save Markets on Kaua`i.
More information on the Hawaii Food Bank can be found at www.hawaiifoodbank.org.
Instead of being a Scrooge this holiday season, be someone’s angel and donate to a local non-profit organization that will make the season a little more enjoyable for those in need. Even the smallest donation can go a long way. Instead of worrying about what you will be getting this Christmas, think about what you can be giving.