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Divorce, pandemic put strain on struggling mom’s finances

                                Cassandra Kamealoha surrounded by her children Friday in Waianae. The children, clockwise from top left, Bishop Marquez, 14, Baeyin Shelton-Cummings, 10, Brooklynn-Rose Kamealoha, 5, Bostyn Kamealoha, 3, and Brennox Kamealoha, 7.


    Cassandra Kamealoha surrounded by her children Friday in Waianae. The children, clockwise from top left, Bishop Marquez, 14, Baeyin Shelton-Cummings, 10, Brooklynn-Rose Kamealoha, 5, Bostyn Kamealoha, 3, and Brennox Kamealoha, 7.

For nine months, Cassandra Kame­aloha lived at the Onemalu transitional housing facility at Barbers Point with her five children after she separated from her husband in 2019.

Under a rent-to-work subsidy program, they moved into a three-bedroom townhouse in Waianae prior to the holiday season in 2019.

Going through a divorce and the COVID-19 pandemic this year has put a strain on her finances. Kamealoha, 32, who currently works on commission as a nail technician apprentice at Deluxe Nails & Spa in Waianae, said there has been a significant decrease in clients. “People are not getting nail services because they can’t afford it.”

Helping Hands Hawaii has partnered with the Honolulu Star- Advertiser and First Hawaiian Bank for the annual Good Neighbor Fund campaign to help families in need like Kamealoha’s during the holiday season. The campaign assists the agency’s various programs that include the non-profit’s Adopt A Family Program.

Born and raised on Maui, Kame­aloha previously worked full-time as a certified nursing assistant but took a break after the death of a client took an emotional toll on her. When she returned, she was unable to secure full-time hours.

Her love of makeup and nails prompted her to take an online course and she was eventually hired as a nail technician apprentice at Deluxe Nails. “I was able to express my creativity,” Kamealoha said, adding she is working toward her certification.

She works six days a week at the salon and alternates child care with her husband every other week. “We’ve maintained our friendship and always put the children first,” she said.

During her time with their children, Kamealoha juggles their varying school schedules. She takes her 7-year-old son, Brennox Kame­­aloha, to work with her with his iPad in tow because he is distance learning. Kamealoha drops off her 14-year-old son, Bishop Marquez, at school twice a week and 10-year-old son, Baeyin Shelton-Cummings, five days a week for in-person classes. Her two younger children, 5-year-old Brooklynn-Rose Kamealoha and 3-year-old Bostyn Kamealoha are dropped off at day care at Kamaaina Kids.

It’s a madhouse, she said.

Her in-laws chip in with picking up her two younger children and her grandmother also helps cook dinner and with grocery shopping.

Owner Nam Phan of Deluxe Nails said the salon, like hundreds of businesses across the state, has taken a substantial hit due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “We’re not busy anymore.”

He praised Kamealoha for juggling work and family responsibilities as a single mother. “She work hard,” he said.

The busy mother of five said there are times where she is barely covering the monthly bills. The children’s father, who is unemployed, is also facing financial struggles.

“I just want my kids to be happy, especially since we’re going through a divorce,” she added as her voice wavered with emotion. “Unfortunately, financially I can’t get all of their needs met.”

For the holiday season, their holiday wish list includes new bed sheets, clothes and shoes for the family and kitchenware. Bikes and helmets are also on the family’s wish list.

Brooklynn-Rose also likes L.O.L Surprise and Barbie dolls and books, and Bostyn likes Paw Patrol and sand toys. On Baeyin and Brennox’s wish list are Fortnite and Avengers toys, Hot Wheels and Pokemon cards, and Bishop asked for a pair of headphones.

How to help

>> To make a monetary donation, individuals may drop off cash or checks at any First Hawaiian Bank branch statewide. Checks may be made payable to the “Good Neighbor Fund.” The deadline to drop off monetary donations is Dec. 31. To donate specifically to the Kame­aloha family, include the code: RTW-002.

>> Donors also may mail checks to Helping Hands Hawaii, 2100 N. Nimitz Highway, Honolulu, HI 96819, or go online to Click on the “donate” box and then “Good Neighbor Fund” in the drop-down options.

>> Donations of clothing, household goods and other items may be dropped off by appointment at Helping Hands Hawaii at the address above, by SaturdayDec. 12.

For more information call Helping Hands Hawaii at 440-3800 or email AAF@helping

The Good Neighbor Fund helps support Adopt A Family, which provides assistance to those who are facing some kind of struggle, whether it be with finances, health, employment or otherwise: Here is a list of donors and the amount they contributed:


Rick Fried $2,500

Alfred B. Valles $1,000

Scott Ito $1,000

Dennis W. Kaibara $500

In loving memory of $500 our mom, Elaine Ebesu, who passed away at age 97, in September.

Jeananne Kim $500

Karen N. Taoka Trust $500

Mary Pateman $500

Sam Shenkus $500

Bill + Diane Hahn $300

In loving memory $300 of Ric and Frances

Michael T. Miyabara $300

Sueko T. Valles $300

Carey Goodman $250

In memory of $250 Grace & Frank Ahern

ARDIS $227

Dennis Ideta $200

Harold H. Karimoto $200

Kaneohe Bay $200 Chapter No. 3, OES

With aloha from Ryker $200 and Ryder Eakin

In memory of Marc Kawa $150

Jessica Nacapuy $150

Melanie Ochmann $150

Arlene Hue $100

Caryn E. Rosen $100

David S.C. Chu $100

Dennis Whiteherse $100

Georgia J. Tsukazaki $100

In memory of Dr. Roy Sam $100

John C. Kiner II $100

Lawrence Scott Stanford $100

Patricia Onogi $100

S.K.L. Browne $100

Susanne Takamiya $100

Peggy Takushi $53.42

Celeste Rubanick $50

Cynthia H. Azama $50

George Young $50

In memory of Akira $50 Amakawa from Darryl & Paula Yonezawa

In memory of Carl $50

Yonezawa from Darryl

and Paula Yonezawa

In memory of Dean “Dino” $50

Rodrigues from Darryl

and Paula Yonezawa

In memory of Dorothy $50

Amakawa from Darryl

and Paula Yonezawa

In memory of Hilda $50

Yonezawa from Darryl

and Paula Yonezawa

In memory of Nathan $50

Rodrigues from Darryl

and Paula Yonezawa

In memory of Violet Kim $50

from Darryl and Paula


In memory of Wallace Kim $50

from Darryl and Paula


Noriko Shimbo $50

Patti L. Tildsley $50

Ralph Ferguson III $50

Raynette Andrade $50

Toni B. Fujinaga $50

Cynthia Foulston $30

In memory of Dr. Fugate, $25

Maryann, Christopher,

Colin — Carty

Ira Tagawa $25

Jo-Anne A. Yamada $25

Sloane Sato $25

Alberto Gonzaga $20

Janet Tarumoto $20

Sachi Kaulukukui $20

Susan Arakaki $20

David Dale $5

Julita Eshleman $5

Margie Akana $5

Nathan Lemn $5

John Linder $1

Anonymous $2,713.30

Weekly total: $15,574.72



Edwin S.N. Wong $2,000


Devon A. Guard $1,000

In memory of Takeji $1,000

and Shizue Iha, Matthew

and Helen Chung

and Annie Lee

Jacqueline Fujii $1,000

and Jarilyn Ashimine

Jodie Toyota $1,000

Kathleen Reeber $1,000

Ralph and Pakinee $1,000


Amber Rose Hind $500

Cynthia Burdge $500

Delna Shinohara $500

In memory of Marcia K. Ho $500

John M. Robotham $500

John Noland $500

S.A. Barrett $500

Thomas L. Kling $500

Wendy Iha $500

William S. Hunt $500

Lance Nakamura $400

In memory of Tony Andrade, $300

Kellie Andrade, and Greg Yokomizo

June Takeno $300

M. Tahara $300

Margaret Bukatz Palmatier $300

Melissa Ching $300

Philip Jon Scellato $300

Richard, David, Mimi, Noah, $300 Claire and Piper

S. Wang $300

Aileen A. Yim $250

Anne W. Floyd $250

C.I. Williamson Mulford $250

Caroline F. Zabala $250

Amy Y. Kishaba $200

Eileen Soneda $200

Giers Family Trust $200

Gordon Kelly $200

In loving memory $200 of William F. Ehrman

In memory of Harriet C. Kam $200

In memory of Laurel Au $200 Muneoka and Lorene Au

Karen Y. Honma $200

Kurt M. Kunimune $200

Lucy S. Richmond $200

Marcia S. Toyama $200

Margaret E. Brevoort $200

Mel, Dar, Quin, Chad, Ali, $200 Derek

Melanie Y. Yonemura $200

Myrtle F. Kaneshiro $200

Olivia S. Yee $200

Patricia K. Tochiki $200

R&W Enterprises, LLC $200

Remy Aguinaldo $200

Sheryl P. Gardner $200

Vicky E. Stewart $200

Wayne & Lianne Takara $200

William D. Gaeth $200

Yuan Chen Chang $200

Danilo Aquino $185

Glenn S. Hamada $175

Felix D. Tengan $155

Alamida, Moniz, Trotter, $150 Reis and Young

Giorgio Caldarone $150

Glenn, Tina, Sierra $150

and Brandon Tarumoto

Joan P. Kent $150

Lynn Tokumine and Susan $150


Pamela T. Yonamine $150

In memory of James K. $101

and Jessie Y. Tokunaga

Ann A. Akiyama $100

Anne W. McKay $100

Arlene L. Koegler $100

Audrey K. Lum $100

B.E. Kaneshiro $100

BBR $100

C.H. Kaneshiro $100

Cora Barsatan $100

Dana Barbata $100

Danford S. Afong $100

Dennis K. Matsuura $100

Dirk Price $100

Eileen Chun $100

Eileen L. Baldwin $100

Elizabeth Berman $100

Eric A. Arveson $100

Frances A. Moura $100

Gail T. Ishihara $100

George Hirose $100

Glenn Awaya $100

Guy Edward Cabral $100

In loving memory of Charley $100

and Masako

In memory of Adam $100

and Virginia Moniz

In memory of Margaret $100 Hadley

In memory of Paul Schrader $100

Jacqueline Morishige $100

Jeffrey Lee $100

Jenna Dell $100

Jocelyn Nishihara $100

Judith H. Moore $100

Judith R. Kobayashi $100

Julie L. Young $100

K.M. Akagi $100

Karen Kwock $100

Katy, Samantha, & Bear $100

Kim Alan Butler $100

Linda Kumasaki $100

Lorrin S. Takamoto $100

Lt. Col. Kenneth W. Zitz, $100

USMC (Ret)

Lucille W.F. Lew $100

Lynne T. Kishimoto $100

M. Muraoka $100

Marc A. Kowalski $100

Marshall Brown & Family $100

Mary T. Schornstheimer $100

Michelle Baie $100

Nadine E. Takahashi $100

Naomi J. Shimabukuro $100

Patrick T. Sonoda $100

Rex K.K. Cheung $100

Richard T. Isa $100

Roseline U. Carpio $100

Roxanne Whalen $100

S. Satogata $100

Stephen T. Hazam $100

Suzanne I. Fujiura $100

The Office Manager $100

Trudi F. Gold $100

Valerie Joyce Hong $100

Van B. Nakagawara $100

Vivian M.S. Lee $100

Wilfred Y. Kimura $100

William H. Loudermilk $100

Lance Watari and Lilis $75


Barbara A. Beckmeier $50

Blessings to all who are $50


Bobbi Lum-Mew $50

C. Oda $50

Cummins K. Mahoe III $50

Daniel K. Shishido $50

Dawn Marugame $50

Dudley Makahanaloa $50

Dyron Takafuji $50

Edward Quon $50

Felicidad B. Ravago $50

Hannah K. Nakamura $50

In memory of Arvid T. Hara $50

In memory of Mr. & Mrs. W.T. $50


Iris Matsunobu $50

James M. Nogawa $50

Jarri Kagawa $50

Jean M. Bart $50

Joanne A. Monheim $50

John Nakahara $50

Kenton, Karynna, and Kallen $50

Many blessings at Christmas $50

and in the New Year.

Marilynne J. Grilho $50

Molly M. Egged $50

Muriel M. Takishita $50

Paul I. Kawamura $50

Pauline T. Chiogioji $50

Rebecca Dayhuff $50 Matsushima

Sapavith Vanapruks $50

Sharon O’Hara-Katres $50

Vernette N.Y. Fukuda $50

Walter H. Ikeda $50

Yun Hao He $50

Valerie Smalley $40

Vernon Tokita $35

Sandra T. Samori $30

Anna Khamsing $25

In memory of Adam $25 and Virginia Moniz

In memory of Willie Dean Ige $25

James Botsas $25

Joyce M. Trask $25

Linda Miyasato $25

Marsha M. Lee-Kiyabu $25

Minnie E. Boggs, Ph. D. $25

Roberto Zamarron $25

David Hirao $20

Mari Otis $20

Neal T. Sylva $20

Patricia Tanaka $20

Victoria Juvrud $20

William Quinlan $20

Leslie Ross $10

Linda Young $10

Violet K.H. Chong $10

Barbara Espaniola $9.01

Christy M. Fukuda $5

Edith K. Higa $5

Mark Sabey $5

Seigi Higa $5

Doris Kawano $1

Anonymous $5,620.72

Weekly total: $37,271.73

Grand total: $52,846.45

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