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Fund helps people regain their way

Zachary was in the military for a few years until he became addicted to alcohol and couldn’t do his job. He become homeless, lived on the streets and did whatever he could to get money to support his habit.

“After 25 years, I decided that I had enough and sought help,” he said. “I moved to Hawaii seven years ago and met a group of recovering addicts, and they helped me realize that I can do better. I am now living in a clean and sober home with great people.”

Zachary is working part-time but is looking for a full-time job. He needs a new pair of shoes and some clothing, and would like to buy a new bed, pillow and comforter, as the ones he has now are old and worn.

Regardless, he said he is feeling blessed this Christmas season. “I am thankful that I can call myself sober today,” he said.

Zachary is one of the people who will receive assistance from The Garden Island/Zonta Christmas Fund that is supported by the community.

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.

Each donated dollar is accounted for and carefully recorded. There are no administrators collecting salaries. This is run by volunteers like 92-year-old Yoshiko “Dimples” Kano, who has led the fund drive for two decades.

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.

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 fund is off to a great start.

Since Thanksgiving, The Garden Island/Zonta Christmas Fund has raised a remarkable $5,000 in donations $100 or greater, which was matched dollar-for-dollar by the Hale Uluwehi Kauai Fund.

“To encourage even more community engagement and generosity, the Hale Uluwehi Kauai Fund will increase our match from $5,000 to $10,000,” said a press statement. “Thanks to all donors, Zonta, The Garden Island, The Hawaii Community Foundation for assisting us with this match.”

An upcoming fundraiser for the Christmas Fund includes “Nutcracker Sweets” is Kauai Dance Theatre’s winter showcase on Saturday, 4 p.m., at Lihue Parish Hall for donations of $5. This 45-minute dance performance features music from the Nutcracker and inspirational holiday tunes.

The fund accepts only monetary donations. Checks payable to Zonta Club of Kauai Foundation may be mailed to P.O. Box 3032, Lihue, HI 96766. For more information, call 822-4517.

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