November 15, 2017

Get Involved in a Holiday Tradition for Lanai Kupuna

The holidays are a special time of year on Lanai. ‘Tis the season to celebrate with family and friends, eat delicious food and share special gifts. However, festive also presents an excellent opportunity to give back to the community.

Those interested in supporting a good cause may want to consider giving to kupuna in need. Lanai Senior Christmas Lunch is a treasured island tradition with roots dating back to the 1970s. The event organizers invite the community to help brighten the lives of seniors on Christmas Day.

Senior Christmas Lunch supported by the community

Every year, approximately 300 kupuna — many without families on island — gather at Lanai Senior Center on Dec. 25 to receive gifts, enjoy a hot meal and spend time with neighbors and friends.

The festivities are organized by Lanai Baptist Church, but all the churches on the island work collectively to host and support the lunch.

The Four Seasons Resort Lanai sends beautiful cakes from its bakery and Pine Isle Market provides discounted groceries for the main meal. Many individuals and businesses, including Expeditions, Ke Ola Hou, Lanai City Service, Pulama Lanai, Walmart and others, donate gift cards and other items for the meal and gift bags.

Dozens of volunteers generously contribute their time and talents to cook dinner and dessert, serve the meals and provide entertainment for the lunch.

Other volunteers help pack up and deliver meals, bringing a much-needed lift in spirits to seniors unable to leave home, or who are confined to the hospital over the holidays.

“Over 600 people are involved every year, whether they donate, support, cook, deliver, entertain, receive a meal or attend the lunch,” said Cindy Sagawa, longtime resource coordinator for the event.

Ways to give back

Gift giving is a highlight of the event. The church receives a number of donations from community members in the weeks leading up to Christmas, ensuring every senior has a gift to unwrap.

The most popular items are everyday essentials. Suggested gifts include:

  • Toiletries (shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, toothbrush, soap, lotions, lip balm, Q-tips, etc.)
  • Household items (toilet paper, paper towels, note pads, kitchen towels, sponges, tape, ice packs, folders, scissors, tweezers, batteries, etc.
  • Warm clothing (non-skid socks, sweat pants, leg warmers, sweaters, rain ponchos)
  • Blankets
  • First-aid kits
  • Pill organizer/container
  • Portable radio
  • Night lights, flashlights

Event organizers are collecting gifts and donations through Nov. 20. Please direct monetary donations to:

Lanai Senior Christmas Lunch
P.O. Box 630149
Lanai City, HI 96763

For a complete list of suggested donations, or to donate an item, contact Anabel Raqueno at (808) 565-7204 or

To volunteer or find other ways to get involved, call (808) 215-1006 or email

Lanai Senior Christmas Lunch

Monday, Dec. 25, 2017
Lanai Senior Center
Party starts at 10 a.m.
Lunch served at 11 a.m.

To schedule a home delivery for a senior, call Saul Kahihikolo at (808) 563-0830 or email

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