Mahalo for the generosity

It’s Christmas Eve.

And thanks to the generosity of the community, The Garden Island/Zonta Club Christmas Fund will be able to help hundreds of families this year.

Tomorrow, on Christmas morning, scores of boys and girls who might have gone without, will instead wake up with anticipation, happily opening presents, and, later, enjoying a nice meal with ohana.

Moms and dads, aunts and uncles, will have a good day, too, thanks to donations from individuals, from community groups.

Many who have little or nothing will have the gift of knowing that people cared enough about them to contribute money so they could feel the love and joy that comes on Christmas Day.

People like Derick and Bethany will benefit from this community’s kindness.

They were homeless for over a year before coming to an emergency shelter. Derick has had some dealings with the law and issues with his anger and past substance use caused him to get arrested several times. He and Bethany were living with family, but were asked to leave.

So, with their two children, they left, and spent many months on the streets.

They recently moved into transitional housing and are looking for their own permanent housing. Derick works two jobs and Bethany cares for their children. Derick has completed classes to help him manage his anger issues and the couple participates in counseling to work on their relationship.

The couple would appreciate any activity or item that they could enjoy together as a family, or some toys for their children.

They will have that on Christmas.

Yoshiko “Dimples” Kano, 92, has led the fund drive for more than two decades. She said the year has been a good one.

“I tell you, it’s absolutely gratifying,” she said. “The community realizes the amount of good it’s doing.”

Families apply for assistance through social service agencies, which in turn connect with the Zonta Club of Kauai. Donations to the Christmas Fund are used by Zonta Club members to purchase gift certificates at local stores to make wishes come true for families in need. It’s all done by volunteers.

Since Thanksgiving, and through Christmas Eve (today), The Garden Island has shared 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.

People responded.

Over the years, donations have climbed from $20,000 to $30,000 and, last year, a record of about $40,000.

TGI can’t take any credit for that. Neither can Zonta Club members.

It goes to you.

Thank you. And Merry Christmas.

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