The annual partnership between The Garden Island Newspaper and the Zonta Club of Kauai Foundation is kicking off and celebrating its 30th year. For the past 25 years, The Zonta Club of Kauai Foundation and the Garden Island Newspaper have teamed up to raise funds for people in their community in need of support through various nonprofit agencies.
In 2019, the fund received US$30,570 in donations, which included the US$5,000 donor match through the Hawaii Community Foundation. With the help of nine agencies providing stories of families and individuals that could use help during the holiday season, 749 keiki and kupuna (children and grandparents) had a brighter Christmas and all through the support of their community and friends of Kauai.
Yoshiko “Dimples” Kano is still leading the charge again this year at 95 years old and as the honorary chair of the Garden Island Newspaper and the Zonta Club of Kauai Foundation Christmas Fund. Joining her is her good friend Marge Akana, who accompanies her to meetings and activities, and new Christmas Fund Chair Cyndi Ayonon, who also serves as the Zonta of Kauai Foundation treasurer.
These three have teamed together to bring Christmas joy and smiles to many of those in need this year especially with the hardships caused by the corona virus pandemic.
Dimples is fondly known for her leadership in the Zonta Club of Kauai and has begun to pass the torch to the younger members but not without telling her story about how it all began. Marge has been also involved in numerous leadership roles in the Zonta Club of Kauai. Cyndi joined a year ago and has stepped up to assist in leading this project along for the first time.
These ladies are not only volunteers, but they have owned their own businesses and giving back to the community is part of them reinvesting in making Kauai a better place to live.
“It feels good to help the children and I enjoy seeing their smiles,” Dimples said. Whenever she can, Dimples attends monthly meetings. Although social distancing has prevented in-person meetings, Marge picks her up and they attend zoom meetings regularly at her home.
Cyndi’s life is full of volunteerism and she spends most days running errands for the four nonprofits with which she is involved. “My life wouldn’t be the same without volunteerism, and I’m so happy to be able to serve alongside Dimples and Marge,” she said.
This year a new COVID-friendly application process was initiated by her so the non-profit agencies could submit their client’s stories by email to alleviate in-person meetings or drop offs.
The Christmas Fund is an avenue for everyone to provide assistance. Donations are used by Zonta club members to purchase gift certificates that are in turn distributed to families and individuals through the social service agencies. Each donation is accounted for and recorded. There are no administrative costs involved and the money goes directly to provide for gift certificates to those who need them for Christmas presents and groceries.