By : Diane Ako
WAIANAE (KHNL)- A military couple and a KHNL employee spearheaded a grass roots fundraiser to help out the homeless this Christmas. Today they dropped off a dozen or so bags of clothing, and boxes of food, at Kea'au Beach Park.
In this tent city, "Santa" is a military wife who's brought bags of much needed basic necessities. Janice Cole takes a break from carrying and sorting out the bags of donations, to explain why she and her husband did it this year. "We wanted to spread aloha and show everybody the true meaning of Christmas is to give to others."
Cole arranges the food on a table, the clothes on tarps on the ground, and soon attracts her first customer. Donna mutters embarrassedly at the camera, "It's a blessing, a major blessing."
Donna is grateful to find what she needs in the clothing piles. Finally, she offers a shy smile. "Life is good. I wish you Merry Christmas. Merry Christmas, Mom!"
Cole and her husband say this gratitude is a gift in itself. "We cut down on our Christmas presents to each other and put ads on Craig's List, my apartment, work, trying to get people to give."
Another homeless person, John, comes to look, and remarks, "Beautiful. Damned beautiful. And I hope my family see this (on tv)!"
Cole and her husband partnered with KHNL's weekend assignment editor Corey Shaulis, who coincidentally started his own independent donation box at the newsroom just after Thanksgiving. In searching for a good place to drop off his collection, he stumbled upon the Coles, and they decided to partner their efforts. Like the Coles, Shaulis says he was simply motivated by the spirit of the season. Corey collected about 6 bags from KHNL.