Castle hospital workers help families


POSTED: Sunday, December 06, 2009

One day a year, Castle Medical Center employees line up before work to adopt needy families for Christmas giving.

“;It's cute; it's just too funny,”; said Pauline Kalawaia, a marketing associate who has long been coordinating Castle's annual Giving Tree project. “;Every Dec. 1 at 9 a.m., I have people waiting in line before I get here. This has been going on for 20 years. ... They get so excited.”;

Employees from about 40 departments will be adopting 24 families this year. They choose the families from a list provided by the Adopt-A-Family program, run by Helping Hands Hawaii. The Star-Bulletin's Good Neighbor Fund also collects donations for the program.

The hospital workers are just grateful “;we all have jobs,”; Kalawaia said. “;So being able to help others, they really get into it. We're sharing God's love; that's why we do it.”; It's also part of the Seventh-day Adventist hospital's mission, said Chaplain Dave Rasmussen. A few of the struggling families include Castle employees, and the identities of all families are kept confidential, he said.

From the cardiology department, Tess Ambrocio and Nolina Kunipo chose a mother, a victim of abuse, living in a Maui shelter with two daughters, Kunipo said.

“;On their wish list was a good meal—that should be a given every day. It's not a luxury; it's a necessity. They also asked for clothing and household items,”; Ambrocio said.

“;And a real Christmas tree,”; Kunipo added.

Zac Cruz signed up to help a mother and daughter who were looking for cooking and baking supplies on behalf of his maintenance department, 11 guys.

Carol Willacker and Laura Pacheco of the Laboratory Department chose a family with two children whose father had spinal injuries that prevented him from working. They were impressed that the family asked only for basic necessities, Willacker said.

Willacker said she has helped the hospital chaplains deliver gifts in the past.

Rasmussen added, “;When you are watching a mom's lips start quivering, you want to give a little bit more.”;


Contributors to the Good Neighbor Fund Drive include:


Gerald P. and June C. Naughton $300
Russell J. and Elizabeth Hampshire $250
Ina M. Lee $100
Charlotte M. and Kenneth H. Muraoka $100
Robert Nathanson $100
Parry I. and Toe Malae $60
Carol A. Demay $10
Emanuel Russo $3
Lorena M. L. McGovern $300
Cheong Lum $100
Leslie R. Usui $100
Derrick Yamamoto $100
George M. Itagaki $50
Katharine P. Kohler-Yap and Rudolph H. Yap $50
Lynn R. Rogers $50
In Loving Memory of Adam Moniz $25
Charles A. Allen $25
Lee Ann Cobb $25
Harold, Charon and Jamie Fujioka $25
Lionel and Cecile Medeiros $25
Masako Nishimura $25
Anonymous $325
Total $2,148