Holiday helpers: volunteers spread happiness this winter season

Holiday charities where Mid-Pacific students and staff volunteer.

Danika Kusumoto

Holiday charities where Mid-Pacific students and staff volunteer.

By Danika Kusumoto
Staff Writer

With the holiday season fast approaching, charities are looking for people willing to lend a helping hand.

Sophomore Ava Lee said it’s important to give back, especially around the holidays.

“Going to school at Mid-Pac[ific], we can forget that there’s people that are less fortunate than us, and it’s important that we give back and we remember them because we need to make sure that everyone can benefit and have a nice holiday season,” Lee said.

Lee has been volunteering for Angel Tree, a program that provides Christmas gifts for local children and supports families in need throughout the year.

“It touches them not only to get it, but to know that someone is thinking of them,” Lee said.

Jennifer Duncan, Easter Seals Club advisor, said she feels very fortunate, and so it feels like a responsibility to give back.

“My child grew up going and feeding the homeless on Christmas Day every year and Thanksgiving. That’s how we spent our holiday. Making sure that we were thinking about others less fortunate on those special holidays,” Duncan said.

Senior Elise Folan volunteers for the Salvation Army and Lanakila Meals on Wheels, both organizations serving underprivileged communities.

“It makes people better by showing them a different perspective and makes people compassionate, which is much needed in today’s world,” Folan said.

Folan said she volunteered at the Salvation Army’s Christmas Boutique, a set up where families/parents can choose gifts for their children or needed items from donations.

“I remember a mother was extremely happy to be able to give her son something for Christmas,” Folan said.

Sophomore Jerren Lum has been involved with Make a Wish, a non-profit corporation that fulfills life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses.

“It just makes you feel good inside knowing that you’re helping others out. You don’t want anyone to feel left out, so you know that you’re contributing to making someone happy,” Lum said.

Mid-Pacific’s Interact Club focuses on supporting charities throughout the entire school year.

“It’s even more meaningful during the holiday season because it’s the season of giving and there’s such a high need in our community,” said club adviser Lei Haas.

A couple of the charities that the Interact Club contributes to include the American Cancer Society and Hawaii Children’s Cancer Foundation.

Duncan said she would recommend volunteering to students, since the bottom line is that it’s incredibly rewarding.

“You need to find something you’re passionate about, whether you love animals, or sitting down and chatting with older people that are lonely in nursing homes, or working with kids, there are so many ways to do it,” Duncan said.

The act of volunteering does not only include interactions with larger, official organizations, but can be something as small as helping a neighbor with running errands.

“It could be something really simple, but finding that passion and then reaching out, you will find that it helps you just as much as it’s helping them,” Duncan said.