As we ring in the new year, it’s nice to reflect back on the holiday season and be thankful for the joyous memories made, the quality time spent with loved ones, and the presents we received.
Even more rewarding than receiving gifts is the opportunity to give back. This past Christmas, many of Lanai’s residents did just that by participating in the Kahiau Project.
The Kahiau Project is a holiday program organized by Maui Police Department – Lanai to provide gifts to Lanai’s needy families on Christmas Day. Now in its 12th year, the program has expanded to serve more than 50 families annually.
“Without the generous contributions from our community, this project wouldn’t happen,” said project organizer Sgt. Kimberly Masse of the Maui Police Department – Lanai District.
The meaning of Kahiau
Kahiau means to give generously and lavishly without the expectation of anything in return.
True to its name, the project collects anonymous contributions of cash, toys, non-perishable foods, clothes and personal hygiene products. Kahiau Project then distributes the donations on Christmas Day to Lanai residents in need, who also remain anonymous.
The Kahiau Project serves anyone in need on Lanai: families with or without children, couples, and individuals; all ages from keiki to kupuna.
Sgt. Masse and her team match the donations they receive with the needs of beneficiaries to ensure recipients receive appropriate gifts. They also do their best to fulfill wish list requests.
This year’s giving tally
This past Christmas, more than 140 keiki received toys and other goodies. “The community is so generous with the gifts for the kids,” said Sgt. Masse.
Twenty-four individuals and families in the community received special bags filled with clothing, household and personal care items.
The project also donated ferry tickets to kupuna served by Lanai Senior Center and money for gifts to Lanai Community Hospital’s long-term patients.
“Since it is ‘kahiau’ — to give without any expectations — we normally do not single out individual or group donors to recognize,” explained Sgt. Masse. “Instead, I would like to thank everyone in the community who helped make this a memorable Christmas for many children and their families!”