Oh, the happiness it brings

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island file photo

    Yoshiko “Dimples” Kano is once again heading up The Garden Island/Zonta Christmas Fund.

Yoshiko “Dimples” Kano just can’t step away from The Garden Island/Zonta Christmas Fund.

Even at 93 years old, even after nearly two decades of heading up this annual effort to help others, even after those rumors each year that it will be her last, she’s back.

“I’m at the point, what the heck,” she said, laughing. “Because I’m in my 90s, I feel I could go at any time. In the interim, I’m just going to keep on doing this because of the happiness it brings to families.”

That’s a lot of families.

About 400, through different social service agencies, filled out applications seeking assistance during the holidays. They count on The Garden Island/Zonta Christmas Fund, which was established in the early 1980s when Jean Holmes was editor of TGI.

Kano said the community is generous.

Last year, the fund raised more than $25,000. The year before, it was a little over $30,000.

Donations come in the form of small change from keiki to thousands of dollars in a single donation. One year, ananonymous contributor matched donations. Another year, a community group did the same. Dance clubs haveperformed to raise money for the fund. Others have rallied employees at work. Kupuna give from their savings.

Dimples says it has been rewarding to see so many families benefit, and it’s just as wonderful to see so many donors making a difference.

“If you could see the happiness this brings, you wouldn’t stop,” Kano has been told.

Each year, she wonders if people will donate to The Garden Island/Zonta Christmas Fund. Each year, they do.

Kano loves it that people just keep on giving, trusting her and the Zonta Club that their gifts will go to those in need.

“That amazes me,” she said. “People read about it and all of the sudden pay attention and donate generously. It’s opening a few more eyes, and it’s really helping people who need the help.”

Through Christmas Eve, The Garden Island will share daily, front-page stories about families (we don’t use their real names) facing challenges and who would appreciate a little help.

The Garden Island/Zonta Christmas Fund is an avenue for everyone to provide that assistance. Donations to the Christmas Fund are used by Zonta Club members to purchase local gift certificates that are in turn distributed to families that applied for help.

Each donated dollar is accounted for and carefully recorded. Rest assured, the money is spent wisely.

There are no administrators collecting salaries. There are no hidden costs. The money goes directly to provide gift certificates to those who need them for gifts and groceries. The gift certificates are distributed in early December.

So let’s do our best to keep this program going strong. Let’s do all we can to make it happen — to keep Dimples smiling and to share Christmas cheer across Kauai. 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 further information, call Kano at 822-4517

Here are some stories of those who applied for help during these holidays. While their real names are not used, their stories are real.

w Ethel lives alone at home. She is able to get around using a walker, but is very unsteady at times. Ethel takes the county paratransit bus to where she needs to be. Ethel’s daughter checks on her throughout the week, making sure all needs are met. At 88 years young, Ethel prides herself in being able to get around, and enjoys socializing with friends. Today, she has a new hairdo. She would really benefit and enjoy some new hair bands or a blouse that bring out her beauty, inside and out.

w Sabrina recently bought a used vehicle to be able to go to her support group at Lydgate Park. She says that her car will need a new battery soon.

w Nancy is 66 years old and recently suffered a massive stroke, which left her partially paralyzed and unable to speak. Nancy has a strong support group made up of family and friends who assist in her daily care. She continues to move forward in her recovery and does so with a great sense of humor. Anything to help brighten this senior’s holiday season would be a welcomed surprise.


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