Holiday volunteers pitch in on Christmas day

Xmas volunteers pitch in

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hundreds of volunteers around the state spent Christmas Day at work, delivering hot meals to senior citizens and gifts to homeless families.

And local nonprofits say demand for these services is showing no sign of let up.

"There's a lot of homelessness on the Leeward Coast," said Gladys Peraro, executive director, U.S. Vets Waianae Civic Center.

"We're doing our best to hold it at bay."

For the Waianae Civic Center's 270 residents, the Unknown Soldiers Motorcycle Club provided a big holiday boost.

The motorcycle club -- which includes active duty military members from Schofield Barracks -- provided hundreds of home cooked meals and Christmas presents for children who live at the center.

"For the last three years, we have grabbed a bunch of donations from the community and have brought it here to the Waianae homeless shelter and we also cooked a lot of food," said Lori Streater, spokeswoman for the club.

Residents like Jontei Wakinekona say they appreciate the effort put in by the volunteers.

"It's an honor for them to take from their own personal Christmas and their family and give back to us guys who are trying to get back on the right track," she said.

Charitable deeds like these are a big help nonprofit social services, who say they're seeing a big upswing in demand this holiday season...mainly because of the economy.

At the Lanakila Meals on Wheels program, more than 200 people volunteered this Christmas Day to deliver more than 600 hot meals to home-bound senior citizens.

Volunteers got in as early as 6:00 a.m. This morning to cook and pack a generous menu that included chicken cordon bleu, rice pilaf, upside down pineapple cake and edamame succotash.

"I think our seniors are very appreciative of a home, hot delivered meal to them. Many of them live alone and they don't have family," said Lyn Moku, Lanakila Meals on Wheels director.

Volunteers who put in a few hours they put in this Christmas day say the work was well worth it.

"I feel it sincerely in my heart unlike any other job that I've ever had," said volunteer Angelo Vigil.

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