The “Heroes and Helpers” gift distribution event took place Dec. 5 at Target in Hilo.
This year’s drive-through event was the largest to date, with a total of 63 young participants. Children shopped with a $100 budget using online product availability in the store, providing volunteer Catholic Charities Hawaii elves with their wish lists ahead of the event.
This year’s focus was primarily keiki and youth from the Ka‘u District and was based on COVID-19 affected needs.
Coordinated by Catholic Charities Hawaii and Target store staff, the event included volunteers from various agencies including Hawaii Police Department, Hawaii Air National Guard and other partner agencies. Because of the pandemic, the event was drive-through, with contactless transfer of gifts. Participants practiced social distancing, wore face masks and sanitized hands and surface areas.
Thirty Hawaii Police Department officers volunteered to distribute gifts and 20 Hawaii Air National Guard volunteers provided manpower at the registration table and along the drive-through route.
This special event brings much needed joy to teens and young children during the holidays while fostering positive relationships between the youth and officers.
Funds were donated by a Target Corporate grant, Catholic Charities Hawaii, Hilo VFW Post 3875, HEI Charitable Foundation, Kolton and Alissa Wong, Kean Wong, Edmund Olson Trust/Ka‘u Coffee and annual anonymous donor families.