31st Annual Christmas Fund kicks off

LIHU‘E — The annual partnership between The Garden Island Newspaper and the Zonta Club of Kaua‘i Foundation is kicking off and celebrating its 31st year.

For the past 25 years, the organizations have teamed up to raise funds for those in our community in need of support through various nonprofit agencies.

In 2020, 11 agencies provided stories of families and individuals that could use help during the holiday season. Almost 500 keiki and kupuna had a brighter Christmas because of the $77,000 in support from our community and friends of Kaua‘i.

Yoshiko “Dimples” Kano is the Honorary Chair again this year at 96 years old. Joining her is good friend Marge Akana, who accompanies her to meetings and activities, and Christmas Fund Chair Cyndi Ayonon, who also serves as the Zonta Club of Kaua‘i Foundation Treasurer.

These three have teamed together to bring Christmas joy and smiles to many of those in need, especially with the hardships caused by the coronavirus pandemic this year.

Dimples is fondly known for her leadership in the Zonta Club of Kaua‘i and has begun to pass the torch to the younger members, but not without telling her story about how it all began. Akana has also been involved in numerous leadership roles in the Zonta Club. Ayonon is serving her second year as the chairperson and has only been a member for two years.

These ladies are not only volunteers, but they’ve owned their own businesses — giving back to the community is part of them reinvesting in making Kaua‘i a better place to live.

“It feels good to help the children, and I enjoy seeing their smiles,” Dimples said recently.

Whenever she can, Dimples attends monthly meetings and fellowships. Although social distancing has prevented in-person meeting until recently, Akana picks her up and they attend Zoom meetings regularly.

Ayonon’s life is full of volunteerism, and she spends most days running errands for the four nonprofits she is involved with.

“My life wouldn’t be the same without volunteerism, and I’m so happy to be able to serve alongside Dimples and Marge,” she said.

Last year, a new COVID-friendly application process was initiated by Ayonon so that nonprofits could submit their client’s stories by email to alleviate in-person meetings and drop-offs.

Through Christmas Eve, The Garden Island Newspaper will share daily front-page stories about families facing challenges and who would appreciate a little help.

The Christmas Fund is an avenue for everyone to provide that assistance. Donations are used by the Zonta Club of Kaua‘i Foundation to purchase gift cards that are in turn distributed to families and individuals through the social service agencies. Each donation is accounted for and recorded. Everything stays on Kaua‘i.

There are no administrative costs associated with the program, and the donations are used to provide gift cards to those who need them for holiday gifts and groceries.

If you hold a fundraiser for the Christmas Fund, let us know and we’ll spread the word.

Those making a donation of $150 or more are welcome to have their photo taken and published in the paper.

Donations may be made at Zonta-Kauai.org. Checks may be made payable to: The Zonta Club of Kaua‘i Foundation, PO Box 3032, Lihu‘e, HI 96766.

The Zonta Club of Kaua‘i was started on April 1, 1952. On Dec. 22, 2003, the Zonta Club of Kaua‘i Foundation was created as a nonprofit for fundraising. All Zonta Clubs are a member of Zonta International, active in 63 countries, with over 30,000 worldwide. The mission is to empower women through service and advocacy.

w Aunty Makana, 73, is a widower. She deals with a lot of health issues, and is currently trying to see if she is able to find a health plan that would be reasonable so she can pay for her medications which cost a lot out of pocket. Aunty Makana would appreciate any help she can get especially during this holiday season.

w Kayden is a single man who recently got housing and is undergoing medical procedures. Due to this, finances are tight for him. Being in a new home has brought him peace as he now has a safe place to recover and be surrounded by people that care about him. Finances are a struggle for him as he is on a fixed income. Household supplies for cleaning and laundry as well as gift cards would be greatly appreciated.

w Carl and Catelyn are an elderly couple who live in a small one-bedroom unit, they live on a limited social security income, and getting necessities is always a struggle. Carl and Catelyn could really use laundry and cleaning supplies, and gift cards for groceries.

w Bradly is a single father with two daughters, including one who is special needs. Carter recently was able to obtain housing and is ready to have a place where he and his daughters can safely be together. Bradly would appreciate any type of household items, laundry supplies, beddings and some toys for his children.

w Ivan is a single dad who has been living in his home for almost a year. Ivan is working on finding stable employment, which makes finances tight, which makes purchasing anything more than the basic necessities difficult. This year, he would appreciate any household items and supplies, laundry supplies and some toys for his son, who enjoys playing with cars and building things.

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