Christmas a busy time of the year

KAPAA — Aunty Flossie Tai Hook Kaona was ecstatic as she wheeled off in her wheelchair, her arms laden with gifts Wednesday at the Samuel Mahelona Memorial Hospital.

“It’s your turn, Triana Bernal,” said Josie Pablo, recreation director at the hospital. “What would you like for Christmas?”

The residents got help from Lalaine Rabaino and Riza Pena in selecting items from a cache of goodies dropped off by the county’s Agency on Elderly Affairs to celebrate the holidays.

Girl Scouts from Troop 823 donated gifts, each cheerfully wrapped.

“This is something the girls wanted to do,” said Teresa Caires, troop’s leader. “The funds came from Troop Funds derived from selling Girl Scout cookies. The girls have gotten into the habit of volunteering and giving to events like this. At first, they were shy, but now, when I need volunteers, they’re right there.”

Grace Delos Reyes of the AEA office and co-chair of this year’s collection said the Christmas contribution was an idea of Patricia Gonsalves who has spearheaded the effort since 2007.

“We collect items donated by anyone who wants to contribute, including the public, and each year, a senior facility is selected to be the beneficiary,” Delos Reyes said. “This year, it happened to be Mahelona Hospital. We work with their staff to find out what kind of needs the residents have and build the collection around that.”

This year’s collection included DVDs, CDs, art supplies and games, shampoos and conditioners.

The hospital’s big Christmas celebration was Friday.

“The holidays are a crazy time of the year,” Pablo said. “It’s crazy in a good sense of the word. Earlier, we had a crowd of about 200 students from the Kapaa Elementary School doing Christmas carols before the Agency on Elderly Affairs people arrived with their presents. The residents love this!”

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