Delivering hot meal, Christmas cheer to homebound elderly

Delivering hot meal, Christmas cheer to homebound elderly

Every week volunteers with Lanakila Meals on Wheels deliver food to the elderly island-wide, and a select few, help out on the Holidays as well – including, Christmas morning.

Santa's sleigh came in the form of a four-door sedan for those who live on the Swink's route.

"Good Morning, Meals on Wheels!" called out Mark Swink, knocking on the door of a 91-year-old woman, who recently had heart surgery, but is also caring for her son who had a stroke.

"Merry Christmas! Here's your Christmas dinner and a present from Lanakila Meals on Wheels," Swink says handing over the hot meal.

"Thank you, thank you," Mary Chun says.  "I appreciate that because sometimes I don't feel like moving.  It's nice because I don't have to be thinking about cooking."

Mark and his wife Cindy have been volunteering for the past year – delivering a hot meal with a warm smile every Saturday – along with Thanksgiving and Christmas.

"Christmas is an important day for 'ohana and these people need help on Christmas day just like any other day," Mark said.

"We don't have family here.  We moved here and all our family is on the mainland so it's a nice opportunity for us to give a little something and get connected," Cindy added.

The Swink's are two of over 200 volunteers who spent their Holiday delivering a hot lu'au plate – complete with lau lau and kalua turkey and of course, haupia for dessert – to more than 650 homebound seniors.

"Retirement and stuff don't go that far and then, plus my wife been sick and then I got sick and that just made it worse.  So I was awfully glad to have Meals on Wheels – they stood by for me, all the way through," explained George Kaeliwai, Jr. with a smile on his face when Mark and Cindy arrived at his door.

For the Swink's, Holidays are when they usually get to meet their recipients' families – all of whom are always so grateful.

"She depends on the Meals on Wheels. It's great. They come out at Christmas and Thanksgiving. I appreciate it," explained Wendall Kaanoi, describing how he visits his grandmother who just turned 93 as often as he can, but is thankful the Swink's are also able to check-in on her.

The retired military family says they may be on the front-lines, but there are so many other volunteers who help make the deliveries happen.

"This morning they were probably there somewhere between 2 and 4 a.m. to start cooking and assembling and then they have the assembly line putting it all together, putting the meals together, getting the beverages together and boxed for each route, for each driver as they pick them up – so there's a lot of different things that go on behind the scenes.  We have the easy part," Cindy said with a laugh.

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