Lanakila Pacific Delivers Merry Meals to O‘ahu’s Seniors

Lanakila Pacific is working to make sure that O‘ahu seniors get a little holiday aloha.


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Photos: Courtesy of Lanakila Pacific

 

Traditionally, the holiday season is all about spending time with friends and family, but of course not everyone is so lucky. One local nonprofit is making sure that even seniors who are homebound get some holiday cheer.

 

Lanakila Pacific’s Meals on Wheels program delivers meals to about 900 seniors across O‘ahu year-round, with the help of 250 volunteer drivers. This month, Lanakila’s kitchen is also going to be cooking up a special Christmas meal and including small gifts with the meal delivery.

 

In addition to providing much-needed food to homebound seniors, each delivery person offers those kūpuna an emotional connection and a link to the outside world. “Many of them live alone, and if they don’t have any family, that volunteer could be the only person they see that day,” says program director Lyn Moku.

 

It’s a rewarding task. Some of Lanakila’s volunteer drivers have been with the organization for more than 20 years. “I think what’s important to them is that they really feel like they’re making a difference in those seniors’ lives, that they’re really giving back,” Moku says.

 

Thanksgiving and Christmas tend to inspire a surge in volunteers—Lanakila Pacific’s Meals on Wheels holiday shifts have been completely booked up with volunteers for months—but there are other ways to lend a hand, not only this month, but throughout the year.

 

HOW YOU CAN HELP

 

  • Volunteer to deliver meals to seniors with your vehicle. “We always need more on-call volunteers,” Moku says. “We’ll work around your schedule, and it could be a day of service once a year, or several times a year, or as much as five times a week, like many of our volunteers are doing.”

 

  • Purchase your own Christmas meal-to-go from Lanakila Kitchen. The nonprofit’s catering division is offering a prime-rib dinner that serves eight to 10 people and is hot and ready for pickup on Christmas morning ($135; deadline for ordering: Dec. 19).

 

  • Donate small gifts for Lanakila’s “Santa for Seniors” program—anything from stationery to $5 gift cards, house slippers or Sudoku puzzles.

 

  • Sponsor meals for seniors with a direct donation. Ninety percent of any cash donation is allocated specifically to meals and support services.

 

Did you know? Lanakila can also custom print T-shirts, from 12 to 12,000 in 10 days.

 

For more information, call 531-0555 or visit lanakilapacific.org. For other volunteer opportunities, check out our feature “23 Ways to Volunteer.”

 

Read More Stories by Michael Keany

 

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