Monday, March 04, 2024|
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Valentina Taetuna and her granddaughter from Milolii receive a bounty of toys from King’s Daughters Ministry on Friday. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)
Helen Vailuu loads up a box full of food at the King’s Daughters Ministry Christmas Celebration on Friday. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)
Helen Vailuu, left, loads up a box full of food for Elizabeth Taetuna of Waimea Friday at the King’s Daughters Christmas celebration. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)
Christmas was made a little merrier for families attending the King’s Daughters Ministry celebration Friday at the Kainaliu thrift store.
The ministry gave away toys, food boxes with chicken, rice, canned goods, sugar, flour and much more. Clothing was only $1 and all Christmas trees, decorations and ornaments were free.
“Christmas Eve is when everyone is home spending time with family and friends,” said Helen Vailuu, founder of the ministry. “We at the The King’s Daughters will be doing the same. Spending Christmas Eve with family and friends, that’s our community. We love our community — from newborn to our kupuna, especially everyone in between, our children.”
Vailuu said it is more important now, two years into the pandemic, to share the love this Christmas season.
“The last two years have been devastating to our local families, local businesses, our children of all ages with the rise of domestic violence, poverty, depression, drug and alcohol abuse, death from illness and COVID-19,” she said.
She noted her personal loss of two family members who died from the virus.
“Many families will be missing from Christmas celebrations this year, It’s a big void. Everyone needs love more then ever before,” said Vailuu. “We at King’s Daughters Ministries wanted to be with our community on Christmas Eve to celebrate and remember what Christmas is.”
Milton Donner was driving along Mamalahoa Highway when he saw the signs for free toys for the keiki.
“I turned around and came back,” said Donner, who is taking care of a family of six ohana members. “This is awesome. I’m so happy.”
Vailuu said there were 85 registered families for the event, but she still accepted walk-ups.
Food was provided by The Food Basket and toys were donated from Toys for Tots.
“We just want to make sure everyone who needs it gets help,” she said.
“We as a community need to come together. We are all connected as a family.”
Vailuu said her nonprofit is volunteer-driven and relies on donations to fund the ministry.
“It’s been a rough two years with COVID, ” she said. “We didn’t know if we were going to make it.”
But she was able to keep her ministry and thrift store open and still has big plans for the future.
She still has a vision to build a youth center, noting the lack of activities for our keiki.
“We have all the plans, we just need to find the land,” she said, hoping a generous individual will step up and donate a parcel. “When we leave this world we take nothing with us, only the good and loving deeds and support we gave to one another. Do unto others as you would like them to do unto you.”
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