Volunteers shower homeless families with gifts, good food ... and lots of Christmas aloha

The special event is aimed at making the holiday special for families struggling through tough times.
Published: Dec. 23, 2022 at 7:14 PM HST|Updated: Dec. 23, 2022 at 9:03 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HI Now) - Laughter and music filled the IHS Women’s and Family Shelter on Friday.

Volunteers brought holiday cheer to 16 houseless families — each with a different story — all trying to get back on their feet.

They made holiday cards and keychains and enjoyed sweet treats and games.

“We’re a huge family community, everybody watches out for everybody, everybody, you know, watches out for their kids,” said Miriam Webb.

She and her daughters Elizabeth and Hannah lived in a car for a month before moving to the shelter. She’s grateful for the support.

“They kind of grew up here. And it’s like a stepping stone from them being here to permanent housing.”

At this Christmas party, it wasn’t Santa who posed for family pictures but the Grinch.

But this Grinch is not a mean one. She knows the struggle of being homeless herself.

“It’s Christmas, and you’re in a shelter, and it kind of is depressing. But I just wanted to give back. I wanted to make them smile and make them be happy. And it’s all about the kids,” said domestic violence survivor Chasarae Poche, who now lives with her 6 children in a house in Ewa Beach.

“Hearing some of the ladies stories, how they don’t have family and they don’t they lost everything and it’s heartbreaking. And just to let them know that they’re not alone and that they do have people that care about them and we might not be blood family but we’re still family,” she said.

Families also received presents, donated by AIO, Locations Foundation and other community partners.

“Seeing that happiness and the joy that they have shown today and the gratitude really warms my heart,” said Allyssa Koki, IHS children’s program manager.

“They’re extremely joyful even though they may not have as much as us and that really inspires me to be grateful for everything that I have,” said volunteer and Punahou freshman Kamryn Okinaka.