‘Not forgotten’: Volunteers deliver hot meals, Christmas cheer to homebound elderly

After a two-year hiatus, Lanakila Meals on Wheels’ annual holiday delivery event returns.
Published: Dec. 24, 2022 at 3:51 PM HST|Updated: Dec. 24, 2022 at 5:51 PM HST

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - After a two-year hiatus, Lanakila Meals on Wheels’ annual holiday delivery event returns.

Christmas on Wheels returned Saturday with about 250 people volunteering — making the holiday merry and bright to those in need.

Lanakila Meals on Wheels had four locations across the island where volunteers picked up the Christmas meals and delivered them to nearly 700 homebound elderly.

Lori Lau, director of Meals on Wheels said in the last two years, they holiday meals were given during regular deliveries, but this year it’s even more special.

“We might be the only individuals that they talk to that day or that week,” said Lau. “And so we just want to make sure that we’re acknowledging them and they know they’re not forgotten.”

Families like the Gendrano’s signed up to deliver the meals.

“I think that a lot of us felt isolated over COVID especially the older folks,” said volunteer Fran Gendrano. “It was hard not to be around family and friends for the holidays.”

“So, I’m really happy that we’re able to, you know, bring them a meal today.”

It’s more than just delivering a warm meal and gift, it’s bringing holiday cheer to seniors like Jolene.

“I am very thankful you know that’s why I say bless everybody,” said Jolene.

The event is also reminding people about the true meaning of Christmas.

“In this Christmas time, it’s important to have good community presence and good community bonding,” said volunteer Kainalu Szweczyk.

“It’s so good to see things coming back,” volunteer Matthew Choy said.

He added that seeing people come together again after so long was a heartwarming experience.

Lanikila Meals on Wheels said more than 40,000 seniors in Hawaii are struggling to feed themselves and the need for homebound seniors continues to grow.

To donate or volunteer, email hello@lanakilapacific.org.