Knowing that things get tougher as the years pass, we are always prayerful that the hearts of many will continue to fill the needs of a few. Expecting much less this year, we were excited to learn that our wish list fulfillment had exceeded expectations. As our community schools at Blanche Pope Elementary and Waimanalo Elementary, once again participated in finding needy families, as recipients for this years Giving Tree project. Blessings and gift giving through this years project exceeded all expectations, making 2013 a most enjoyable season for the families that were selected. We extend special mahalo and greetings to principals Todd Watanabe of Blanche Pope Elementary and Noel Richardson of Waimanalo Elementary school, for their continued support of the annual ‘Giving Tree Project’, as well as our friends and families of the Castle Medical Center Outreach Ministries, and the Menehune of Hoolua.
We are thankful to Akua and our many community partners, which allowed us to deliver nearly 50 complete turkey dinners on the eve before Thanksgiving. We were blessed with this task, and pray that this can grow with each new year. Lord we ask for sustained strength to make these efforts a lasting endeavor.
Then there was the family with the little boy who came to ask if we could give them food, because they had none at home………….We took the little boy home to his families camp site, where we found his mother in tears. She said that the Police had just informed them that they had to leave the beach immediately, and since their truck was not working, it would be towed away and all of their personal items would be confiscated.
Redirected, the little boys mother quickly corrected him and said that they just got their food stamps, so every thing was OK again. But, clearly she was in anguish, as she stood over her mound of personal items, that they had quickly tossed into the back of their truck, that was not working. This was her final act of defiance, to show that she could attempt to make things better for her three children and aging father, who all lived together at this site in Waimanalo.
Within a few minutes of our arrival, Akua was at work, as within an hour we had found a safe alternate site for this family, and a helpful tow wagon driver who moved their truck to this safe site. Another call later, a community volunteer arrived with her truck to assist with moving all of this families belongings to the alternate site. We left the family, as she quietly said “I will find a house, soon”.
Three weeks later, this little boy found me and said “We got a house and we are moving in around Christmas”. Excitement filled his every word and expression. Well as miracles would have it, two days before Christmas we were blessed with a truck load of Christmas gifts for this family, which included a new Bike for this little shepherd boy. But, its not over yet. As Santa would have it, we learned that their truck was still broken and they could not move their household items into their new home. So, we saddled up the reindeer and headed off to fulfill a prayer from a little shepherd boy…….His prayers answered ours…Merry Christmas to all.
2013 has been a long, very long year for one very large and needy family living under the same roof in our community. As the Giving Tree project took shape, and neared Christmas, there was little to be said about what each member of this very large family wanted for Christmas. As their wish list moved from one to another in the circle gathered in the from yard, they listed items that were necessities, leaving the more extravagant choices to the young children gathered in the same circle. When the list was done, most adults were asking for pillows, blankets, clothing or food. While the children were asking for new shoes, or bicycles from Santa.
In all, 29 requested some special gift for Christmas. But, when asked if they could have one gift, that the entire family could use, what would that be, and would they opt to have that item for Christmas instead of their personal choices? All the adults shared that the one thing that the house needed was a generator, because they have been without electricity for over a year. The generator would allow them to wash their clothes, which is a monumental task, that is done almost daily.
It was collectively understood that if they chose the generator, they would probably give up their chances to receive personal gift items, under the Giving Tree spending ceiling. On Christmas Eve, we delivered four truck loads of toys, Bicycles, blankets, pillows and other personal items to this family of 29. This was an unexpected miracle. The family of 29 gave up for others, and received much, much more. We are still shopping for that needed generator, with monies that were donated from members of our clergy coalition, Ho’olu’a, the Castle Medical Center outreach ministries and the Kailua Adventist church. Thee miracles occur every day, and you can see them too…….just call us and join in!
Oh! did we leave out that this family is now planning to host a New Years Eve 2013 luncheon for needy families, in the park. We of course will be assisting with providing some of the food, but they are doing all the planning, cooking and work. This is their first project in a new effort called Community Pay it forward. As the blessing rebound…….and we witness God’s Work, at Work! Amen
Yes! come and have lunch with the family in the park. Waimanalo Beach Park. On New Years Eve 2013 at Noon. It’s just their way of saying Mahalo to their neighbors, friends and Ohana for having faith in humankind and our resilient efforts to overcome, in all adversity. It just takes time, Gods time….Oh servants…Amen!!!
Someone asked me as I stood amid the children scampering for and searching the mountain of stuffed animals, attached to a throw net, suspended from the ceiling, resembling a Christmas tree, “Looks like a lot of families came to Hali’i?”. I responded with “If only two families showed up, and this same sound of children’s laughter and excitement could be heard, this event would be a huge success. It is the sound of happiness and families in sinc with each other and their surroundings.
Hali’i Kalikimaka 2013 was a huge success, because our community families came with their keiki and enjoyed the simplicity of engagement, fellowship, fun and a lot of food. Our opening act on the main stage was the Hawaii Opera Theater, as their beautiful voices filled the festive atmosphere. We are very grateful to Eric Haines, Director of Education with the Hawaii Opera Theater for their support and partnership with our community.
We are grateful to Keiki O Ka Aina’s Momi Akana, Sonya and their families for their awesome contribution in our 11th hour, of wonderfully appreciated toys for our keiki. Papa Kalikimaka was blessed with healthy snacks, candies, gifts and family photo’s for everyone who joined us at Hali’i Kalikimaka 2013.
One of the many blessings that came to our community this year, in assist with this event, was AlohaCare. About mid year in 2013, we were contacted by Daryl Huff of AlohaCare, seeking partnerships within our community. Partnerships that involved engagement with our community of families. This meeting led to, a long term relationship with this health care organization between Blanche Pope Elementary school, Ho’olu’a and several key community members. The rest is, in part, History and the rest, the future of Waimanalo and healthier pathways.
The new collaboration with AlohaCare, was obvious at this years event with the appearance of such providers as Ke Ola Mamo (Health Care Connector), AlohaCare and their health care assistors, the Red Cross, and the many other health and wellness related providers from around the island. Services and information regarding SSI, SSDI, Medicaid, Medicare, Quest and health insurance were available at every turn.
Lomi and Massage was a busy area for the entire event, as Holly Viveiros provided soothing relief for may of our participants. The young navigators of the Hokule’a and the Polynesian Voyaging Society were a hit with families, as they gained a better understanding of the Hokule’a experience.
One of the many objectives of this years event was to highlight the start-up of the Pope Elementary school Parent Teachers Organization. With the kokua of emcc KutMaster Spaz, we were able to cast a huge light on their efforts to recruit members, and that they did.
Oh! did we mention gifts, prizes and treats? Our community benefited by just coming and sharing what Hali’i had to offer. This event highlighted the act, art and Kuleana of giving back to our community.
Mahalo nui loa Kakou to KutMaster Spaz and Kahu Paul Akau for their expertise in narrating the many activities of the evening. Special Mahalo to Grteen Screen Hawaii for the magnificent work in photo’s with Papa Kalikimaka. We were able to produce 500% more family photo’s at this years event, with their addition to our list of vendors.
In the main Library a new and exciting project got off the ground with the recording of our very own “Kupuna Living History Library”. As members from the Habilitat, under the direction of Jeff Nash, proceeded to gather interviews with our Waimanalo Kupuna, with our own Kawehi ‘Rita’ Kanui, Kahu Paul Akau and Kahu Roy Brooks as program moderators. This is a project that is being planned and implemented through the collaboration of Blanche Pope Elementary, Ho’olu’a and Ka Po’e Waimanalo, and the Habilitat . For more information and participation in this project, you may contact Unko Roy @ 699-5888, or through this website.
The event was a masterpiece in community, as the sounds of families engaging filled the night air. We received kokua from 135 volunteers. This is a record for Hali’i, and a testament to community and the life force of Aloha, that lives in all Hawaii and it’s people.
We give thanks to our Evangelical community for joining in unified blessing of this years Hali’i Kalikimaka. Mahalo to: Fr. Scott Bush of St. Georges Catholic Church; Fr. Peter Besenbruch of St. Mathews Episcopal Church Waimanalo; Pastor Fred Welsh of Joyful Community Church Waimanalo; Pastor Paul Akau of Kupuna Church Waimanalo; and Kahu Ka’ahele Roy Brooks Gathering Place Ministries for their event blessing. We are blessed to have Po’e on this journey, just po’e. People walking with people, sharing their light, warmth and goodness.
There are many organizations that we owe a great deal of gratitude to, for this years event. But, there remains only one mahalo, that will rise above and that is to Akua.
I will be posting photo’s of this years event in the next few days, but if anyone needs copies of photo’s with Papa Kalikimaka, please let me know and I can arrange to send you electronic copies of those photo’s.
We are blessed to be in your company and embrace O Waimanalo Po’e. Let’s do this elsewhere. For details on how this can occur in your community, contact Anakala Roy Brooks through this website or @ 699-5888.