STAR-BULLETIN / 2005
Andrew Huynh, 6, brother Elton Huynh, 6 and sister Rachel Huynh, 5 (back), are happy with their new slippers at the Mayor Wright Homes Community Association's children's Christmas party in 2005, where the kids received the rubber slippers, fulfilling resident Lynn Vasquez's Christmas wish.
Progress is measured in feet
A holiday tradition continues outfitting children with slippers
A bunch of barefoot kids playing in front of Lynn Vasquez's home at Mayor Wright Housing prompted her to make a simple, yet determined wish two Christmases ago: To buy them slippers.
Make donations by Nov. 30 online at http://zztype.com/chipin.php or email@example.com.
Or mail donations to Fergerstrom, 1689 Piikea St., Honolulu, HI 96818-1846. Make checks payable to Blaine Fergerstrom, with the notation, "Slippah Fund."
"I couldn't see children go without slippahs," she said, using the pidgin pronunciation. "It's so dangerous playing without slippahs."
She intended to buy them with her next paycheck.
Since then, Vasquez has been able to give away hundreds of "slippahs" (aka flip-flops) for kids in need. Her "Slippah Fund" evolved from a single expression of her wish on her blog, www.auntiepupule.com/ blog, and the HawaiiThreads .com forum. Donations poured in from other bloggers, and participants began spreading the word to other blogs and forums, she added.
"As I keep saying on my blog: Wishes and dreams do come true; you just gotta believe. It's just taken off, it's snowballing!
"It's magical that individual people, not corporations, are helping children in public housing and who are homeless. It's the spirit of Christmas and it started from a simple wish," she said.
The first year, she ordered 500 pairs of slippers, with enough left over to outfit some adults at Mayor Wright. Last year, she provided enough footwear for at least another 250 children, and added donated toys and gifts to the giveaway.
This year, Vasquez is estimating she might need about a thousand pairs to include kids not only at Mayor Wright, but the Kamehameha and Kaahumanu Homes, and the homeless children on the beaches of Waianae, she said. She plans to decorate a flatbed truck with Christmas ornaments that will attract the children, and pass the slippers out to the homeless along the Leeward Coast.
So far, Vasquez has collected several hundred dollars with the help of Blaine Fergerstrom, who orders the slippers wholesale and pays the taxes out of his own pocket, she said.