HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - It may be early January, but Christmas isn’t quite over yet for the Wounded Warrior Ohana who hosted its annual event with a drive-thru celebration.
In previous years, the non-profit hosted a holiday gala dinner for more than 300 wounded warriors and their families, but because of COVID, they had to pivot to a drive-thru event.
Wounded Warriors and their families were greeted by some Disney characters, Santa and the Christmas Grinch as they drove by the First Presbyterian Church in Kaneohe on Sunday.
Forty-one families from all branches of the military were presented with gift cards from local businesses, a family game and sweet treats.
“I feel like these families have sacrificed so much and so this is just a small way that way we can give back to them especially during this pandemic time,” said Karen Makishima, director of family ministry at First Presbyterian Church.
“Everyone kind of gets depressed if things aren’t going so well the pandemic and so forth,” said Dick Rankin, president and founder of Wounded Warrior Ohana. “Seventy percent of our clients suffer from PTSD so this is the kind of things that lift their spirits.”
Over 80 kids received gifts from Toys for Tots and Iolani School’s “Raiders for Wounded Warriors.”
“It’s really heartwarming to see how much they supply for families that can’t exactly get anything right now,” said Ivy Short, of Moanalua. During the pandemic, the non-profit purchased masks for wounded warriors and had to purchase telephones because counselors could not meet with them in person.
Wounded Warrior Ohana recently launched a scholarship program for Gold Star Families.