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Maui Memorial Spreads Holiday Cheer to Families

December 26, 2017, 11:21 AM HST · Updated December 26, 11:23 AM
Nikki Schenfeld · 0 Comments
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The Rodrigues Family. Photo Courtesy

Maui Memorial Medical Center staff shared holiday cheer—and hundreds of gifts—with 40 Maui county families in need this week through Maui Family Support Services Adopt-A-Family program.

What started as just one department and a few families, grew into 27 different hospital departments and a special Christmas for families on three different islands.

“This is a true blessing,” said Donna Vickers, Maui Family Support Services chief financial officer. “We had families who, until this week, had zero presents under their tree. Because of the amazing people at Maui Memorial Medical Center, we were able to make this the best Christmas ever for families on Maui, Molokai and Lāna‘i. We are truly grateful.”

MFSS provided the hospital departments information on each family including ages of the children and a list of basic needs like clothes or towels as well as “wish lists” for each member of the family. According to Vickers, some of the families they support had been homeless up until just recently. So, while they were thankful just to have a roof over their heads, they were also in need of basic household supplies.

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Participating staff presented the gifts they purchased to the families at MMMC this week and Santa, a nurse from MMMC’s Behavioral Health Department, made the visits extra special.

The Rodrigues family was adopted by MMMC’s Nursing Administration and Education departments. Mom and Dalilha had just undergone an emergency medical procedure in October and the time away from work had put them behind financially. Because of that, she and her husband were not sure how or if they’d be able to give their children gifts for Christmas this year.

“The morning I received the email that we had been chosen, I was at work and literally broke down in tears at my desk,” said Dalilha. “Prior to this blessing we all agreed that as long as we were together for Christmas the gifts didn’t matter. But to see the smile on my kids’ faces as they received their gifts was the greatest gift of all. My kids now have a better understanding of Christmas Blessings and what Christmas magic really is.”

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Alexis Kahue and her daughter Breeze also received family gifts this week. A single mother of
two young daughters, Alexis works full time to provide everything she can for her family and is
working hard to regain her independence after having to move a few times recently.

“Christmas is not about presents but having a giving heart and today we were truly and deeply grateful for being the recipients of many giving hearts,” said Alexis. “Thank you so much and we wish you a Merry Christmas.”

Expeditions Lāna‘i and Young Brothers helped to ship presents to Lāna‘i and Moloka‘i.

In addition to MFSS Adopt-A- Family, Maui Memorial Medical Center, Kula Hospital and Lāna‘i Community Hospital staff give back to the community in many ways during the holidays and throughout the year including serving food at the homeless shelter or donating gifts and volunteer time to other outreach programs.

“It has brightened our days to be able to see the happiness and joy from these families,” said
Malia Joyo-Bui, MMMC OB manager. “It was not one person or one department, but the hearts of many people here that make things like this happen. We have the best team.”

Nikki Schenfeld
Nikki joined the Maui Now team in 2016 as a writer/reporter. Originally from Chicago, she has had internships with CBS2 Chicago and Comcast SportsNet Chicago where she had the opportunity to interview some of Chicago's best athletes. She graduated from Columbia College Chicago in 2010 with a Bachelor's degree in Broadcast Journalism. She moved to Maui in 2013.
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