The holiday season is supposed to be a time of joy and cheer, but it can become a very stressful time of year for people in need. Charities around the world are always looking for help, but around the holidays there needs heighten. People need food, shelter and gifts to share with their loved ones, but they can’t always afford it. There are many local charities here on Maui that could use help from the people who can afford to give.
One of the most prevalent organizations around the holidays is The Salvation Army. The Salvation Army has been serving people in need since 1865, helping nearly 33 million people in America each year. They provide food, shelter and clothing for the homeless and also provide relief for disaster victims, assistance to the elderly and disabled as well as provide opportunities for underprivileged children. During the holiday season most people will recognize the Salvation Army by the “Red Kettle” fundraising that happens outside of stores. Bells are rung as volunteers wish shoppers a happy holidays and hope for a donation in the small red kettle. All of the money made in these kettles is used to help support families in need.
From Nov. 21 to Dec. 16 the Salvation Army will be hosting multiple “Angel Trees” across the islands. Here on Maui our Angel Tree is located at the Queen Ka’ahumanu Center. The Angel Tree is a way to provide Christmas presents to children and elderly whose families can’t afford to buy them presents. A volunteer will pick an angel off the tree and will be given the Angel’s Christmas list. The Volunteer will then return with a gift on the list that will be delivered to the Angel by Christmas. This is a fantastic way to help families around the holidays and keep the Christmas spirit alive.
During the holiday season, as the weather cools down more and more people become in need of food and shelter. The Maui Food Bank and Hale Kau Kau are fantastic resources for people who need food. The Maui Food Bank has been serving Maui since 1994 and helps 10,000 people at the risk of going hungry each month. The Maui Food Bank is always in need of donations and volunteers. Some of the most important items they need are, canned foods, including meats, soups, fruits and veggies, as well as rice, cereal and pasta.
Hale Kau Kau is located in Kihei at St. Theresa church. They offer free meals every night and are open to anyone with no questions asked. Their mission is to alleviate hunger by providing nutritious meals to the hungry and homebound. This organization has been helping the hungry since 1998 and hopes to keep doing so for many years to come. They could use the public’s help through volunteer work, prepping and serving meals, as well as money donations to sponsor the food being made.
Alternatively, adopting a family can be a very rewarding a wonderful thing to do. By doing so you can brighten up another family’s holidays by providing gifts and kindness to warm the hearts of others. Helping Hands Hawaii has an incredible program just for this. The Adopt a Family (AAF) Program allows donors to connect with a family in need and fulfill the needs on their holiday wish lists. Each year the AAF Program helps approximately 600 families in need. Becoming a donor is simple, simply fill out the AAF Donor form on the Helping Hands Hawaii website and email it to AAF@helpinghandshawaii.org by Dec. 10. Doing so could change the holidays for a family in need.
Although only a handful of charities that need help this Holiday season have been mentioned, there are so many more that could use the help of generous donors. The holiday season is a time to give and share kindness with one another and by picking a charity to help this year, you could make a huge difference in the outcome of the holidays for a family that can’t afford to support themselves.
If you are interested in helping any of the charities mentioned in this article, please visit their websites for more information on how to help. The Salvation Army- www.hawaii.salvationarmy.org, Maui Food Bank- www.mauifoodbank.org , Hale Kau Kau- www.halekaukau.org, Helping Hands Hawaii- www.helpinghandshawaii.org.