Debbie Trump of Kohala checks out some of the holiday items available at Memory Lane Thrift Store in Kailua-Kona. (Brad Ballesteros/Special to West Hawaii Today)
Festive wooden figurines and nutcrackers are available for purchase. (Brad Ballesteros/Special to West Hawaii Today)
Holiday decorations available for sale at Memory Lane Thrift Store in Kailua-Kona. (Brad Ballesteros/Special to West Hawaii Today)
Gregg Polidovi, volunteer, arranges cards on a table at the new holiday shop, part of the Memory Lane Thrift Store in Kailua-Kona. The cards along with other donated holiday items are offered at discounted prices. Proceeds go toward the Hospice of Kona’s Nakamaru Hale, the nonprofit’s residential home. (Brad Ballesteros/Special to West Hawaii Today)
Debbie Trump of Kohala checks out some of festive items available at the new holiday shop, part of the Memory Lane Thrift Store in Kailua-Kona. (Brad Ballesteros/Special to West Hawaii Today)
Volunteer Chuck Jarvis puts the finishing touch on an artificial Christmas tree for sale at a new holiday shop, part of the Memory Lane Thrift Store in Kailua-Kona. All the proceeds benefit Nakamaru Hale, Hospice of Kona’s residential home in Holualoa. (Brad Ballesteros/Special to West Hawaii Today)
Holiday decorations are available for sale at Memory Lane Thrift Store in Kailua-Kona. (Brad Ballesteros/Special to West Hawaii Today)
Volunteers Chuck Jarvis, left, and Gregg Polidovi, right, have spent more than 100 hours setting up the new holiday shop, part of the Memory Lane Thrift Store in Kailua-Kona. Hospice of Kona Community Awareness Coordinator Mary Villaverde, center, said the thrift store wouldn’t thrive without volunteers like them. (Brad Ballesteros/Special to West Hawaii Today)
He knows a thing or two about being nice, but the jolly ol’ elf is also stylish. Ever wonder where Santa Claus gets his outfits?
“Woolrich, Pennsylvania,” states a tag attached to a pair of red plaid pants with green chartreuse suspenders hanging in the Hospice of Kona’s new holiday shop.
Festive finds such as this can be found inside the latest addition to the nonprofit organization’s Memory Lane Thrift Store, located in Palm Terrace on Luhia Street in Kailua-Kona. The holiday shop opened Sept. 1 and already has a following, with thrift store regulars visiting more than once a week to check out the new and gently used items donated by the community, said Mary Villaverde, community awareness coordinator for Hospice of Kona.
It is filled with the stuff of ever-growing nostalgia, and the best part, Villaverde said, is hearing customers’ favorite Christmas memories or their hospice story while on the hunt for the right item.
Available in the twinkling space are numerous pieces of holiday decor and novelties such as nutcrackers, ornaments, angels, wreaths, stockings, artificial trees and Christmas-themed dinnerware — all bound to add festive flair to homes and make the upcoming season sparkle. There’s even a singing tree that belts out carols like “Jingle Bells.”
Prices range from 25 cents to $100. Proceeds support Hospice of Kona, and in particular, its Nakamaru Hale — a Holualoa home able to five residents for respite, transitional or longer-term care in a safe, supportive and nurturing environment during the final months of life, Villaverde said.
Hospice of Kona Executive Director Laura Varney said the home, which opened in June, is for hospice patients who need around-the-clock caregiving. The goal of Memory Lane is to raise the approximately $90,000 needed to never turn a patient away for a year. Insurance doesn’t pay for patients to live in the house, she added.
With a jovial sense of humor, pride and a strong work ethic, volunteers have spent more than 100 hours sorting through the thousands of donated items every week and helping create the holiday shop. The idea for such a shop came from the plethora of holiday stuff Hospice of Kona received and the opportunity for the Memory Lane to expand. Another justification is the affection for holidays, and its attendant nostalgia that potently and poignantly pulls on us, Villaverde said. The holidays also remind us to give more than receive, she added.
Once all the holiday items are sold, the area will be used to display larger items like furniture, Villaverde said.
Memory Lane is a retail endeavor, started two years ago, that helps raise funds for Hospice of Kona’s programs and services, as well as support patients and families in need. It’s also an outlet many families can turn to as a way to clear out the belongings of loved ones following their deaths while benefiting the community, Villaverde said.
Since 1986, Hospice of Kona has provided family-centered support, education and care for those approaching the end of life, when no more treatments are available and a cure is not possible. Bereavement support throughout the community is also offered. The nonprofit strives to enhance quality of life for patients, preserve their dignity and freedom of choice in preparing for a peaceful transition, as well as helps them enjoy life and get their affairs in order, Varney said.
Hospice of Kona brings “personalized, sensitive, compassionate health care and support to individuals and their families facing the advanced stages of a life-limiting illness,” according to the organization’s website. It also works with caregivers and friends. The care changes hour by hour, day to day, but always focuses on the patient’s symptoms and wants. The nonprofit enables patients to stay at home, allowing their loved ones to support them and have more access to them, Varney said.
Hospice of Kona helped 200 West Hawaii families last year. When hospice first started, most of the patients had cancer. Today, 40 to 50 percent are cancer patients, Varney said.
Memory Lane sells merchandise at discount prices and the inventory is always changing. It also offers a medical equipment lending program, Villaverde said
The thrift store is run by volunteers who help in every aspect, from assisting customers, setting up displays and operating the cash register to receiving and pricing donations. These volunteers are driven by a passion to help community members who need compassionate end-of-life care and some know the value of hospice services first-hand. For many, Memory Lane is a labor of love. The thrift store thrives because of support from them and the community, Villaverde said.
Memory Lane is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays. For more information, call 326-9293 or visit hospiceofkona.org.