Donations lift spirits, Christmas fund

Mack was living alone for a long time until he fell ill. He was in the hospital for months when his son, with whom he never really had a good relationship, took the role of Mack’s caregiver.

Mack was so happy that his son decided to move in with him. However, things are still hard. Mack cannot afford the medical bills that have come in the mail from being ill. Mack’s son works full-time and his schedule is not flexible.

Mack needs help getting ready in the morning, but they can’t afford to bring in a caregiver.

But there is always hope that comes with Christmas.

Mack would be delighted to be able to buy food for the house. He would also love something new to make him feel good about himself — something as simple as a watch, a radio, or even clothes.

He’s glad to know The Garden Island/Zonta Club Christmas Fund is receiving such strong community support under the guidance of Yoshiko “Dimples” Kano, the long-time driving force behind the fund drive.

Every year, there’s talk that Dimples will retire from the volunteer post she’s held for two decades. Her health has faltered a bit and she needs to rest, but the 92-year-old said she just enjoys being part of the community program that benefits hundreds of families on Kauai.

One thing that keeps pulling her back is the joy it brings to keiki and kupuna. She hears the stories of little boys and girls and the delight on their faces Christmas morning, when they open gifts they might not otherwise have received if not for the TGI/Zonta Christmas Fund.

Two years ago, the fund raised a record $32,000. Last year, it was in the $40,000 range, another record.

And this year, Kano believes donations, especially with the pledge of the Hale Uluwehi Kauai Fund to match dollars, could climb even higher.

Here’s how the program works:

Through Christmas Eve, The Garden Island will each day share front-page stories about families (we don’t use their real names but the circumstances described are real) facing challenges, who would appreciate a little help.

Families apply for assistance through social service agencies, which in turn connect with the Zonta Club of Kauai.

Donations to the Christmas Fund are distributed by Zonta Club members, who purchase gift certificates at local stores to make wishes come true for those families in need.

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

The Garden Island/Zonta Christmas Fund was established in the early 1980s when Jean Holmes was editor of TGI. Dimples says it has been rewarding to see so many families benefit through the generosity of the community.

“It’s brought a lot of happiness to families in need,” she said.

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.

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 Kano at 822-4517.

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