During a time when shopping malls are buzzing with excitement and store shelves are filled with rows of toys, there are families who would simply like to put food on the table or be able to say “yes” when their child asks for a toy. Through Helping Hands Hawaii’s Adopt A Family (AAF) Program, community supporters made these wishes come true for more than 570 families, a total of 2,297 individuals, and helped them ring in the new year with a happier holiday season.
The AAF program mainly operates during November and December. However, it takes months of planning and efforts from staff, volunteers and our partners in the community to accomplish. This year 274 donors (179 individuals and 95 organizations) committed to fulfilling the families’ needs, and the success of this program would not be possible without them.
Hundreds of other individuals also contributed monetarily or through in-kind donations to support the program’s efforts, and they often did so anonymously through our Wishing Trees hosted at Koko Marina Center, Monkeypod Kitchen at Ko Olina, Moku Kitchen and Leavitt, Yamane and Soldner.
Additionally, volunteers, who logged more than 525 hours, helped us to fulfill 100 percent of the requests for support for the seventh year in a row. Throughout the holiday months we welcomed 60 volunteers from community groups, local businesses, partnering agencies and our own staff. Everyone’s combined efforts uplifted and inspired individuals and families who were struggling at the end of the year.
Families who participated in the Adopt A Family program were referred for assistance through more than 30 partner organizations around the island. Many of these families asked for simple items like toiletries, pots and pans and groceries. Often parents ask for nothing, instead hoping that their children would receive something special.
For example, one participant did not have the funds to buy her son a birthday present. Through Adopt A Family, she was able to use the gifts they received for her son’s birthday as well as for holiday gifts. Another participant, who was featured by a media partner, was brought to tears when someone recognized her and paid for her family’s dinner.
Hawaii has always come together to help those of us who are in the greatest need, and we are so thankful that we live in such a giving community. Mahalo to everyone who adopted, donated and volunteered their time to ensure that our neighbors in need felt your aloha!