Hometown Heroes: Nonprofit, trade association team up to host Festival of Hope for Families

  • Volunteers help distribute items to those in need during Saturday’s Festival of Hope for Families drive-through event in Hilo that offered local individuals and families support resources, services, and chef-prepared meals. (Courtesy photo/Special to West Hawaii Today)

  • Volunteers help distribute items to those in need during Saturday’s Festival of Hope for Families drive-through event in Hilo that offered local individuals and families support resources, services, and chef-prepared meals. (Courtesy photo/Special to West Hawaii Today)

  • Child and Family Service teamed up with the General Contractors Association of Hawaii to host four Festival of Hope for Families drive-through events across the state on Saturday offering local individuals and families support resources, services, and chef-prepared meals. (Courtesy photo/Special to West Hawaii Today)

Editor’s note: Each Wednesday, West Hawaii Today is publishing a story about individuals, groups or organizations that have helped make life better for others in our community during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Child and Family Service teamed up with the General Contractors Association of Hawaii to host four Festival of Hope for Families drive-through events across the state on Saturday offering local individuals and families support resources, services, and chef-prepared meals.

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Part of a series of events, the Festival of Hope for Families events help provide needed supplies, resources, screenings, and family friendly activities to those in need during the COVID-19 pandemic. Hundreds of families across Oahu, Maui, Kauai and Hawaii Island took part in Saturday’s event.

The Festival of Hope, held in Hilo at the Nani Mau Restaurant &Garden, featured drive-through booths where groceries, chef-prepared meal kits, Community Resource Kits, PPE items and advice, and educational resources were distributed. Attendees also received a CFS Family Lokahi Kit, which includes items purchased and donated by local organizations and businesses, like children’s books by local authors, card games, activity books, parenting and family resources, stress relief ideas, and hotline information. Lokahi Kits also include educational materials and a pack of Hoo Wala Au – Talk Story Cards, which include a range of questions for parents and children alike with the goal of sparking conversation and bringing families closer together.

“We’ve held nine events on five islands since the pandemic began and we’re honored to partner with the GCA to put on this multi-location extravaganza and greatly expand our impact. Not only does the Festival give out meals and activities for kids, but it gives our caring staff a chance to check in with the community and connect with those in need of our services. As the stress of the holiday season, distance learning, and job insecurity continue to weigh on us all, we can now support even more people across the state, with the generous support of the GCA,” said Karen Tan, CFS president and CEO.

Each year, the GCA selects an organization to donate to and this year Child and Family Service’s Festival of Hope was selected.

“In order to sponsor these events, our generous members stepped forward during this challenging time and donated as companies and individuals to exceed our $100,000 fundraising goal. I would also like to recognize the Hawaii Island Contractors Association and its members for their contributions to this campaign. Throughout the pandemic, our industry kept building Hawaii as an essential service, and we’re also committed to building strong, resilient families,” said Leslie Isemoto, 2020 president of the GCA.

To offer the event, CFS also partnered with Hope Services, Hilo Crescent City Lions Club, Partners in Development, Tutu’s Traveling Preschool, The Bay Clinic, Mercy Worldwide, Chef Hui, Under My Umbrella, Keiki Heroes, Hui Malama Ola Na Oiwi, Coconut Grill by Mark Mattos, Paina at Nani Maui, The Office of the Prosecuting Attorney, East Hawaii Family Guidance Center, and Hawaii Island Contractors Association.

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Child and Family Service is a family centered, full-service nonprofit that has been at work in the community since 1899, and is dedicated to strengthening families and fostering the healthy development of children. Through nearly 50 programs that welcome everyone from keiki to kupuna across the islands, CFS helps families address some of life’s most serious situations including poverty, abuse, and neglect. For more information, visit www.childandfamilyservice.org.

Know a Hometown Hero who should be highlighted next Wednesday? It can be anybody, from a youngster doing good for the community, to a professional helping with the COVID-19 pandemic, or even a kupuna! Please send your nominations to cjensen@westhawaiitoday.com with the subject: Hometown Heroes Nomination. Please include the hero’s name, contact information and what makes them a hero.

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