The spirit of giving


Local nonprofit Kaanalike needs your help to make the holiday season brighter for nine families and more than a hundred elderly Kailua-Kona residents.

The 501(c)(3) is preparing holiday gift baskets for nine already identified West Hawaii families in need, comprising about 70 people, as well as baskets with necessities for about 120 residents of Hualalai Elderly Housing in Kailua-Kona, said Nalani Freitas, the organization’s president. This year the need is higher than usual with Kaanalike having to turn away some families because of budget constraints.

“We’ve taken on what we can afford to do,” she said. “There is always a need.”

Kaanalike, sharing in Hawaiian, is requesting help from Big Islanders who have extra to give to ensure families and our kupuna have a happy holiday season. All those being assisted by the organization are screened and referred by other nonprofit agencies like Family Support Hawaii, she said. The organization makes about 700 client contacts annually.

Freitas said the organization has most of what it needs for the nine families but will accept monetary donations that will be used to fill out the baskets.

For the baskets that will be delivered to Dec. 12 to the elderly, Freitas said the organization is looking for a variety of toiletries, kitchen and laundry supplies, and household necessities, particularly light-weight towels that take less time to dry.

“They are very humble — they only ask for the things they need,” she said. “It’s the things that you use everyday that we don’t really think about that they need.”

Freitas also added that the residents love to have fun too, suggesting a variety of items like glittery makeup kits.

“The residents love the bling items, too,” she said.

For more information or to donate, call Kaanalike at 329-5626.

With the holiday’s fast approaching, here is a list of other organizations assisting families in need on the Big Island:

‘Adopt’ a family

The annual Love Giving program is in full swing at nonprofit King’s Daughters Ministry Kona where individuals, families, groups and businesses can “adopt” a family by purchasing items found in a list of the families’ needs and wishes lists, said organization President Helen Vailuu. The charity has received about 200 applications requesting assistance this year, she said.

“There are more applications coming in every day,” Vailuu said noting the organization does not screen applicants but gets many of its clients referred from other agencies and also cross-checks to ensure applicants aren’t receiving support from multiple sources.

Those looking to adopt a family can do so anonymously or be identified to the family. Visit the store located in Kainaliu to peruse the various wishes and needs lists and select a family.

The organization is also collecting nonperishable food to be distributed to families, including those that are homeless, she said. There is a great need for rice and canned goods.

For more information or to contribute, contact Vailuu at 322-0797, email kingsdaughters@hawaii.rr.com or visit kingsdaughterskona.com.

A giving tree sprouts on Big Isle

Help the Big Island Giving Tree make the holidays brighter for island families by contributing food, necessities and toys to the project this year.

Rhonda Bell, project coordinator, said nine out of 10 families who submitted applications for help last holiday season listed food and necessities as their wants and needs. The same goes this year with many asking for food and items like toilet paper, laundry soap, diapers and gas cards.

“They not asking for toys — they’re asking for food and the basic needs,” said Bell, who added applications are starting to come in for assistance and will be accepted through Dec. 10.

Despite applicants seeking only the basics, Bell said she hopes the project can provide each child with at least two gifts. She reminded that children include both young and old; suggesting movie tickets for the older keiki.

The giving tree will be stationed at Parker Ranch Center fronting Village Burger through Dec. 21. All those being assisted by the project are screened, said Bell, noting the process includes checking bills, income and assistance already received.

The local giving tree was created this year in an effort to keep 100 percent of the money raised on Hawaii Island, which wasn’t the case when it fell under the Lokahi Giving Project. The charity falls under the nonprofit umbrella of the Christopher Nance Children’s Foundation, which is based in California — Nance, however, resides in Waikoloa — said Bell.

To contribute monetarily, checks can be made payable to Christopher Nance Children’s Foundation, with Big Island Giving Tree in the memo line.

For more information, to contribute or volunteer, call Bell at 880-1984 or email thebigislandgivingtree@gmail.com. To request assistance, call 880-1984.

Support Christmas for the keiki

Family Support Hawaii, a 501(c)(3) that helps families and the community provide care for children, has most of its needs met this holiday season. However, the organization can always use monetary donations as well as KTA Superstores gift certificates for families to purchase food, said Ray Wofford, the organization’s executive director.

Because the annual holiday program, Kalikimaka No Na Keiki, or Christmas for the Children, got under way last month, Wofford said the organization already has enough toys and gifts for its selected 97 families, each of whom has from one child up to 10 children, he said.

For more information, call 326-7778 or visit fsswh.org.

Make a Christmas wish come true

Make a child’s Yuletide wish come true by contributing to the Christmas Wish Program, which provides holiday gifts to children in need. The nonprofit Project Hawaii Inc. program will serve an estimated 600 keiki of families who may be homeless or who were recently homeless, said Magin Patrick, executive director.

Keiki are treated not only to gifts and basic hygiene goodies, but to a Dec. 18 Christmas party featuring Santa Claus, arts and crafts, and games. The organization does some income verification and those who are homeless will receive priority.

Big Islanders can support the effort by giving a donation to have their presents, or presents for donation to the Christmas Wish Program, wrapped by Project Hawaii Inc. volunteers from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. seven days a week at the Kona International Market in Kailua-Kona. The organization is also looking to individuals and groups able to man its gift-wrapping booth through Dec. 23.

The organization is also looking volunteers to help run the Dec. 18 party.

For more information or to volunteer or contribute call 987-6018 or visit helpthehomelesskeiki.org.

Give some toys for the tots

Hawaii Electric Light Co. will coordinate the annual Toys for Tots program on the Big Island. Employees will distribute new toys to more than 8,000 keiki on the Big Island, said Josie Kiyan, a HELCO employee who helps coordinate the effort with Paul Fujioka.

Residents can help by dropping off a new, unwrapped toy at sites in Hilo, Kona and Waimea including all Bank of Hawaii branches and HELCO offices. A full list of drop-off sites can be found at hilo-hi.toysfortots.org.

There is currently a need for gifts for infants through age 2 as well as for children and teens ages 11 through 17, she said. Some ideas for the youngsters are age-appropriate dolls and trucks. For the older kids, Kiyan suggested necklaces, cologne and perfume, makeup kits, hair items and tools, and backpacks and blankets, among others.

So far this holiday, HELCO has had about 7,000 children referred to the Toys for Tots program by social service agencies, she said. Another 60 people who called for help are also being assisted.

Families still needing assistance — or more information — should call 969-0340, Kiyan said.

The (Salvation) Army wants you

The Salvation Army is always seeking volunteers for its variety of programs as well as monetary donations and gifts for the nonprofit organization’s annual Angel Tree program, said Daniel deCastro, Salvation Army Hawaiian and Pacific Islands Division spokesman. Individuals, groups and businesses can assist in the annual project, which last year assisted 600 children.

Angel Trees will be set up at various sites including all First Hawaiian Bank branches, the Kona Salvation Army office, Keauhou Shopping Center, Kmart, Walmart, The Club and Kona International Market.

Angel Tree donations can also be made online by visiting salvationarmyhawaii.org.

Big Islanders can also contribute to Red Kettles placed around town to fund Kona programs. DeCastro did not have a list of the locations available and West Hawaii Today was unable to reach the organization’s Lt. Kelly Pensabene as of press time Tuesday.

For more information or to contribute, visit salvationarmyhawaii.org or call the Kona office at 326-7780.

Editors note: There may be services in addition to those listed above.