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Fund helps those recover from past mistakes

Life has been difficult for Betty, a recovering drug and alcohol addict.

“I have been living in a clean and sober home for the past four years,” she wrote. “It hasn’t been easy but I have had the guidance and strength from my mentor not to relapse in times where I just wanted to give up.”

She used to be homeless for years, living in her small car and has spent time in jail.

“Now that I am older and recovering, I am working hard every day to stay clean and with the help of my clean friends, I’ve been doing OK,” she wrote. “I would like to go back to school and get my GED and eventually take classes at the local college so I can get a good job. I am saving money for a computer so I may begin my journey to a better life to get and education.”

Betty is one of those who will receive help from The Garden Island/Zonta Christmas Fund, which is supported by the community.

New this year, the Hale Uluwehi Kauai Fund announced that it will provide a dollar-for-dollar match for donations of $100 or greater. It will match the total up to $5,000 and, if there’s great success, will consider adjusting that figure higher.

Here’s how the program works:

Families apply for assistance through social service agencies, which in turn connect with the Zonta Club of Kauai. It uses donations to buy gift certificates for those in need. The certificates can be used for gifts and groceries.

The Garden Island shares daily stories about those who could use assistance this holiday season. While the names are not real, the situations described are. Hundreds of keiki and kupuna benefit from the fund.

Each donated dollar is accounted for and carefully recorded. There are no administrators collecting salaries.

If you hold a fundraiser for the Christmas Fund, let us know and we’ll spread the word. Anyone making a donation of $50 or more may have his or her picture presenting the check published in TGI.

The Garden Island/Zonta Christmas Fund was established in the early 1980s. It has been led for the past two decades by Yoshiko “Dimples” Kano. The 92-year-old is so dedicated to this program, that despite health concerns, she declines to give up the volunteer post and keep at this, when she could be resting at home.

Only monetary donations are accepted. Checks, payable to Zonta Club of Kauai Foundation, can be mailed to P.O. Box 3032, Lihue, HI 96766. For more information, call 822-4517.

And remember, donations of at least $100 or more will be matched by the Hale Uluwehi Kauai Fund, so your gift is basically doubled.

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