The Kindness of Keiki
Little Hands, Big Hearts
Camille Wong | Feb 21, 2018
Caring For Kupuna
It is now February, almost two months after the Holiday Season, but the spirit of the holidays have not passed. Caring for others selflessly, showing appreciation, compassion and empathy– is what it is about- or maybe that is just known as the spirit of Aloha here in Hawai’i. Whatever you want to call it, it is alive and well. Children who submitted their wishes to Santa this past December, through our second annual “Letters To Santa” Program are proof of that.
Almost 500 letters were submitted, and Santa and our team read them all, then selected a handful of keiki whose wishes we fulfilled. Through each letter that was chosen, we saw kindness, love and appreciation.
Xaymien of Hilo, age 6, wrote about how he gave his grandma hugs, helped take care of her and cleaned up his toys. His wishes were for 1) his grandmother’s cancer to go away, 2) a new bed for him and his grandmother and 3) snorkeling gear for a kid.
After a few calls were made, with the intent to donate to Hilo Medical Center’s Oncology Center and receive guidance in purchasing a bed from Furniture World, the heart and support of the community was apparent. Furniture World offered to donate two sets of beds and mattresses, while Hilo Medical Center offered to assist with selection, transportation and setup.
On December 20th, Xaymien and his grandma, Jacqueline, stopped by Hilo Medical Center after his school day was done. Upon seeing his gifts, among them, dinosaur bedding and snorkeling gear, he was jumping for joy. Running back and forth from one end of the table to the other, he exclaimed “Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I love everything!”. As he danced in the hallway, Jacqueline told us more about Xaymien’s caring personality, and how he checks in on her to make sure she feels okay. "He does a lot for me-sometimes he thinks not enough-but he does a lot."
Through each letter that was chosen, we saw kindness, love and appreciation.
Food For All
Sarah of Makaha, age 11, explained that she was “kind to the little kids next door”, she helped her mom and dad, and shared her laptop with her brother so that he could do homework. Her wishes were for 1) peace on earth, 2) everyone [to] have enough food to eat and 3) a gift card from 7-Eleven.
In fulfilling Sarah’s second wish, for everyone to have enough food to eat, we made a donation to Hawai’i Food Bank under Sarah’s name. When Hawai’i Food Bank heard about Sarah’s letter they were moved by her compassionate wish- and upon speaking to her mother, also learned that the family had at one point received assistance from them. Through Sarah’s wish, she and her family were able to give back.
But giving back for Sarah did not stop there. On January 25th, Sarah and her family stood in front of a banquet hall full of community members, business leaders, and volunteers at Hawai’i Food Bank’s 29th Annual Kickoff Breakfast. She shared her story and wish with everyone, and now continues to do so, as perhaps one of Hawai’i Food Banks youngest ambassadors!
No Matter How Small
Along with Xaymien and Sarah, other wishes from the children included “school supplies for children who can’t afford them”, “presents for loved ones and families in need” and “a gift card to get presents for the elderly”. With their compassionate and thoughtful wishes, the children not only helped those in need, they inspired the community and showed us all that "no act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted."