Every Christmas for years, Frances Schneider took her kids to pick out a present for a needy child.
This was to teach them the satisfaction of giving, and because it was a more personal gesture than just sending a check to a charity.
It was something her children could easily relate to.
They knew how a child would feel if they expected Santa to leave gifts for them under the tree, but on Christmas morning find “there’s nothing there, because mom and dad can barely afford to put food on the table,” Schneider said.
So Schneider invited two co-workers to join her in adopting a family for Christmas and getting the co-workers’ youngsters involved in the process. She got the idea when she saw the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s Good Neighbor Fund story Nov. 27 (808ne.ws/2gqkrFI) about a single mother, “Theresa” (a pseudonym), who was struggling to raise her children in a loving home.
This newspaper works with Helping Hands Hawaii to collect funds and donations of material goods for its annual Adopt A Family Program during the holidays. Readers may designate that their donations go to a particular family featured in stories running every Sunday until Christmas. Funds will provide a special dinner and a few extras from Santa and help people with basic expenses throughout the year.
Schneider said she felt compelled to help Theresa.
“She’s the kind of person you really want to do something for, so that she doesn’t slide backwards and she keeps moving forward,” she said. “I thought it would be good to adopt her family.
“What really struck me was her (Theresa’s) determination, given all the disadvantages she’s been through, to still have a strong will to have certain things for her children.”
Schneider was impressed with the way her older boys were glad to help watch the youngest brother so their mom could work, and how Theresa emphasized the importance of college to get ahead in life.
Schneider said she could also identify with the family because her son was “a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fanatic” just as Theresa’s 4-year-old son is. She was excited about finding some TMNT pajamas for the little boy, and planned another shopping trip to get a few items for the older boys and for Theresa, who’s “doing a wonderful job as a mom.”
Schneider, a retired nurse, works as an office manager for two physical therapists in Kaimuki, Aisha Holcomb and Jaime Kuamo‘o.
“We’re like three peas in a pod!” she said.
Kuamo‘o has two daughters who dote on their baby brother as do Theresa’s sons, Schneider added.
Holcomb and husband Richard have a 9-year-old son, Kimat, who was eager to shop for a TMNT action figure for Theresa’s little boy, said Aisha Holcomb.
The family has made a habit of cooking meals for homeless people and giving them donated clothing, “because we want to teach our son empathy and compassion and to help other people,” she said. They’ve taken Kimat along with them, first in Kakaako, where this population is largest, then downtown. Her husband, a lawyer who started this charitable work before they married 10 years ago, thought the homeless in Chinatown were more “desperate,” as fewer organizations did their outreach there, Holcomb said.
Her son wanted to start his own nonprofit foundation to help the homeless when he was 8. Kimat even took a cooking class last summer so he could make brownies and cookies, and set up a lemonade stand to raise funds for the foundation, Holcomb said.
Since she has been too busy to help her son, and the family missed their usual Thanksgiving dinner giveaway to the homeless, they welcomed Schneider’s suggestion to adopt a family for Christmas.
The Holcombs aren’t connected with any church or agency.
“We just do it ourselves,” she said. “We both grew up poor, so we always feel like we should give back to other people.”
GOOD NEIGHBOR FUND TALLY 2016
Ifuku Family $3,000
Kate C. and Hallett H. Hammatt $1,000
Sydney J. Palm-McIntosh & Judith I Palm $800
Not Yet Foundation $750
In Memory of Shunichi and Sueko Miyashiro $500
Steven M.C. Lum $500
Cynthia Burdge $300
David & Noah Shimokawa and Richard
& Mimi Lam $300
In Loving Memory of Captain Gabriel Garduque, Gabriel Jr., Remedious and Marcos Gardueque $200
In Loving Memory of Miki Powell $200
In Memory of Myrna Minatodani $200
Craig S. Muramoto, Trustee and Lori K. Muramoto, Trustee $200
Frances Lyons $200
James D. & Patricia L. Abts $200
Joern O. and Chandre M. Hinrichs $200
M/M Calvin K.H. Loo $200
Sheryl Gardner $200
In Loving Memory of Akiko and Shinobu $150
In Memory of Jean Nouchi $150
Marty Black $150
Mike and Wendy Miyabara $150
Glenn N.C.K. and Gayle H. Ching $150
In Memory of Irene Pundhu and Ima Okubo $125
Mel, Jean, Mitchell and Micah Yoshimura $125
Bobbi Gail Lipton $108
In Memory of Balbino and Antonia Gamatero $100
In Memory of Darin and Lance Oda $100
In Memory of Frances C. Hee $100
In Memory of Herbert H. Hee $100
In Memory of Lillian T. Chun $100
In Memory of Masami, Sachiko and Larry Tanaka $100
In Memory of Reynold Y.S. Leong $100
In Memory of Wallace Y.H. Soong $100
In Memory of William F. Ehrman $100
In Memory of Yebo $100
Anthony J. Baldomero Sr. and Wolletta K. Baldomero $100
B. R. and L. Burns $100
Beatrice Gould $100
Brenda Machosky and Joseph M. Herzog $100
Carolyn and Noble Lieu $100
Daniel I. Takamatsu $100
Dennis F. and Carrie Y. Kawamoto $100
Fred K. Gamble $100
June C.N. Won TR June C.N. Won Living Trust $100
Marc A. Kowalski $100
Marianne H. Au $100
Martin Humphrey Beach and Ann G. Beach $100
Melvin M. Ige $100
Michael Leo Lustig $100
Michael P. Matwichyna $100
Michael R. & Laurie L. Walsh $100
Natsuko and Shigeto Minami $100
Patrick T. and Nancy K. Sonoda $100
Precious Memories of Dad, Glenn, Karen,
Gene and Son $100
Randolph W. and Stephanie K. Sakauye $100
Sandra and Melvyn K. Sakaguchi $100
Thomas B.S. Chun $100
Thomas T. Kamiya SFC USA $100
Thomas T. Takara $100
In Memory of Lavinia $50
Precious Memories of Dad, Mom, and Donald $50
Alan T. Okamoto $50
David D. Hallstein $50
Dawn K. and Ryan R. Marugame $50
Douglas T. Takaba $50
From Santa $50
George S. and Gayle M. Hirose $50
Glenn S. and Karen T. Hamada $50
Helen F. Popovich $50
Joyce H.C. Lau $50
Lance Watari and Lills Malamah $50
Mary Chang Fong and Robyn S.J. Fong $50
Hannah K. Nakamura $35
Kathleen and Jay K. Fung $30
R.H. and M.L. $30
Alan H. Kawamoto $25
Marya Grambs and Janet A. Montgomery $25
Philip K. Hanohano $25
Soichi Matsuoka $25
By Request Recipes $2,845
Weekly total: $19,988
Previous week’s total: $5,111
Grand total: $25,099