WAIMANALO (HawaiiNewsNow) - No one likes asking for a hand-out. That includes Shannon Canopin and Sheldon Souza, a Waimanalo couple with four children. But because money is tight, this family, and many more, could use some help brightening up the holidays for their kids.
Canopin and Souza have come a long way in the past two years. They are living clean and sober in transitional housing at Weinberg Village in Waimanalo. It is a big step up from life on the beach just two years ago.
"I got some counseling actually to help me through because I was having some hard times. I have depression and I was letting it get the better end of me. I got the help that I needed and I could see things better," Canopin said of her transition from being homeless in Waianae to her one bedroom apartment in Waimanalo.
Now, instead of wasting day after day without doing anything productive Canopin is taking vocational classes and volunteering at a Waimanalo pre-school.
Souza works as a mason whenever he can.
"I kind of got lucky last month and the month before," Souza said. But jobs pumping concrete that were plentiful in October and November are vanishing.
"Now, this is the time of year," Souza said shaking his head. "Now I know it's going to be slow. I know this month we're going to be slow."
With Christmas right around the corner this is a bad time for jobs opportunities to dry up.
"I want that," their seven year old son Alika said while watching a commercial for a toy on television.
"We have cable now," Canopin explained. "It's like ... they see television and they're like, oh mom, can we get that?"
The answer is often, "no."
Canopin and Souza use what they make to pay rent and buy food. That is why this family, and particularly the kids, could use some helping hands to brighten up the holidays.
"She likes everything from Disney Princess to Barbie. All the girl kind of things," Canopin said of her four year old daughter Lehua.
Seven year old Alika would like pro wrestling related items and super heroes figures for Christmas.
The two oldest boys, Kristopher, 15, and Cheyne, 10, are into hand held video games and other electronic entertainment.
The grownups could use household items including a new rice cooker, but say seeing their kids enjoy opening presents Christmas morning would be the best gift the family could get.
"That would make me happy. That would make my Christmas if anything," Souza said.
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