Rising to the Christmas occasion

LIHUE — Christmas Eve brought to an end The Garden Island’s run of stories about struggling Kauai residents and families in need of a little holiday cheer.

For 27 days, starting the day after Thanksgiving, TGI published real life stories about those in our community facing challenge and hardship — homelessness, joblessness, abuse and more — and asked people to consider donating to the The Garden Island/Zonta Christmas Fund.

The fund was established in the early 1980s with the goal of making the holidays happier for less-fortunate residents.

And this year — just like years prior — it did just that.

More than 500 individuals received gifts and help thanks to the fund drive.

“(I am) deeply, deeply touched with the response from the community,” said Yoshiko “Dimples” Kano, the longtime chair of the the Christmas Fund Committee. “Not just me, but all of us.”

Kano didn’t want to disclose the total amount raised, but she said the donations have been “very generous and coming in steadily.”

The money raised was used to purchase gifts and other needed items in 243 individual cases, ultimately helping 253 adults and 254 children, she said.

Especially humbling were all the thank you notes, many written on scratch paper, she received from individuals and families the fund helped. 

“I guess it’s a kind of joy that you get when you (receive) when you’re not expecting,” she said. “Small little notes on little scratch pieces of paper, that’s just as good as a card.”

Donations to the Christmas Fund were distributed by Zonta Club members, who purchased gift certificates at appropriate businesses to help make wishes come true. Kano said that while the run of articles in TGI will stop, the stories are still very much a reality, and community members can continue donating to the fund for as long as they would like.

Those still wishing to donate to the fund can make checks payable to Zonta Club of Kauai Foundation and mail them to P.O. Box 3032, Lihue, HI 96766. Only monetary donations can be accepted.

Info: Kano at 822-4517.


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