Kaua’i’s spirit of kokua is contagious

NAWILIWILI — The list of goodies donated by Kit Ellison and daughter Becca Rogers could be part of the chorus of “The 12 Days of Christmas:”

Ninety Beanie Babies, 22 stuffed animals, 13 pieces of jewelry, 10 doll figures, nine hair and head bands, five baby blankets, two Crayola game sets, and at least one cassette player with headphones.

Rogers wasn’t looking for any sympathy last week when she said she didn’t have much growing up.

She was only stating a motivating factor behind the donation of all those things listed above, and more, to members of The Salvation Army and U.S. Marine Corps League – Kauai, for the Toys For Tots program for needy young Kauaians.

“People helped us, so we were just passing it on,” said Ellison of the hand-off of the goodies to the men in uniform at Anchor Cove Shopping Center in Nawiliwili, where both the ladies work for Activity Wholesalers.

What they didn’t make themselves to donate to those less fortunate than themselves, they bought using proceeds from their hosting of and participation in nine craft fairs this year, Ellison said.

Though she calls their annual holiday giving project Kalikimaka for the Keiki, Ellison is quick to point out that some of their creations and contributions are suitable for needy elder Kauaians as well.

Blankets, pillows, and a variety of other things, are perfect gifts for needy Kaua’i senior citizens, Ellison said.

“We’ve done this for years,” said Ellison, who calls Rogers her “partner in crime.”

An assortment of toys, games, blankets, pillows, dolls, stuffed animals, hair and head bands, baby and adult blankets, jewelry, decorative pens and other items, will also be sent to American Indians at St. Joseph’s Indian School in Chamberlain, S.D., Ellison said.

“We split it right down the middle,” with needy Kauaians getting half of their donations, and those in Chamberlain getting the other half, Ellison said.

It is through the generosity of other Kauaians, mostly patrons at the craft fairs, that they have been able to give back, explained Ellison, adding, though, that some of their activities-booth paychecks also went to buy some gifts or materials to create gifts.

Giving back is more than just a holiday tradition for Ellison and Rogers, Ellison said. They have been parents to foster children on the island, and give back to the island’s residents who support them in other ways, too, she said.

Between 150 and 200 toys were donated by Ellison and Rogers for needy Kauaians.

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