26 Dec Decking the Hale
While some debate if the holiday season begins November 1st or the day after Thanksgiving, planning for the 2021 Christmas festivities at IHS began in the fall.
In September, the Development & Community Relations department began working with local businesses and organizations to organize toy drives and meal donations.
In October, wish lists for Santa started to take shape as the Children’s and Family Program distributed worksheets to parents and kids.
As soon as Thanksgiving was pau, guests, volunteers, and staff transformed our shelters into a Winter Wonderland, repurposing everyday items, including a potted plant that became an artistic Christmas tree, and using previously donated decorations. Atlas Insurance Agency graciously gifted our sheltered families the opportunity to visit the Show Aloha Land – A Holiday Wonderland at the Aloha Stadium. These tickets, valid throughout December, gave families access to do something special together for the holiday season. They viewed a dazzling display of Christmas lights and decorations. A special mahalo goes out to the IHS staff who volunteered to shuttle the families unable to drive.
At Kauhiki Village (KV), Santa’s helpers at the United States Postal Service (USPS) helped parent’s and keiki write letters to Santa as part of their Operation Santa program. Operation Santa is an annual USPS initiative for children to write letters addressed to the North Pole, which are then posted online where vetted volunteers can adopt letters and deliver Christmas to the keiki’s mail box. Letters are written in early November, presents begin to arrive in mid-December.
Guests at all 12 of the IHS facilities got to enjoy a holiday feast this Christmas. Breakfast was provided by Adventist Healthcare Castle, lunch was provided by the Pig & the Lady, while dinner was brought by Hawaiian Electric Company.
Socially distanced and fully masked, Santa came to Kaaahi Women’s & Family Shelter on Thursday morning on Christmas Eve’s eve. Mahalo to Adventist Health Castle, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Hawai’i Realty, Hawaii State Teachers Association (HSTA), Hawaii HOME Project, and Elks Club Waikiki and many members from our community for donating toys, clothes, hygiene products, and home goods.
Across the way at KV, Santa and his elves shared the holiday joy gifting residents–kupuna, parents, and children–toys, books, new clothes, shelves, pots and pans, and more. Mahalo to aio Foundation, Knights of Columbus, HPD Community Division, Laborers Union 368, Keiki o Ka Aina, Aiea Methodist Church, Aldersgate UMC, Aiea Korean UMC, and Incenergy for their generous donations and partnerships at KV.
Around the island at our specialty shelters and HMO, guests partook in similar smaller Christmas celebrations, receiving presents and gathering for Christmas dinner.