HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Every year, residents spread holiday cheer to families in need through Helping Hands Hawaii's Adopt a Family program.
The program doesn't just make sure fulfill wish lists. It's aimed at bolstering spirits -- and helping people through a tough time of year.
Gloria Riveira, 65, previously participated in the program and recalls that she didn't know what to expect.
"So I seen a notice about adopting a family so of course the first thing I'm thinking is, someone's going to adopt me?!" she said, laughing.
James Li, of Helping Hands Hawaii, said the holidays can be an especially tough time of year for needy families.
"I think what's is often overlooked, is, for families and individuals that are struggling, holiday times often magnifies their struggles," he said.
For Gloria, who came from an abusive marriage and raised her three children on her own, the program was a godsend.
"So I just put my request in and low and behold I got these items that I could not otherwise purchase on my own," she said.
The retired health aid at Waipahu Intermediate now lives alone in a senior living facility. She said that at first, it was hard to accept help from other. But her guilt was eventually replaced with gratitude.
"The very first experience I felt embarrassed. But that's part of pride. But then I felt happy that you know, that's all I needed to do was say I needed help," she said.
Li said if you don't want to commit to adopting a family, you can make a monetary contribution.
And Riveira, who's now back on her feet, says the program is a good example of how a little help goes a long way.
"For me, as a single parent and now that I'm on my own, you don't want to be a burden to your family," she said.
For more information on the Adopt a Family Program or to donate, call 440-3800 or click here.