For months, the Honolulu Location laid the groundwork for the expansion of the Hygiene Kit Program into their area. As with other areas in the Western Association, pandemic restrictions created obstacles for charities, highlighting the need for the program in Hawaii.
During this time, the Honolulu members and volunteers, unable to serve since March of last year, looked forward to helping those in need, while remaining safe from COVID.
On January 9, members and volunteers assembled a total of 500 hygiene kits within four hours at an event organized by Convener, Darryl Wong, KM and his team. Volunteers arriving together remained in groups, working side by side during the assembly process, minimizing exposure to others. All in attendance wore masks and socially distanced, abiding by local health ordinances.
Volunteers began by setting up the hygiene kit supplies, spacing them apart in stations in a staging area. Next, they carried three or four bags to each station and filled them trick-or-treat style, with eleven separate items.
Each mini backpack contained the following message:
Happy New Year!
On behalf of the members and volunteers of the Honolulu Auxiliary Order of Malta Western Association, we pray you good health in 2021. To assist you in keeping up with your health needs, we have enclosed items for you to use and hope it will help you improve day to day hygiene.
- Soap (2 mini bars)
- Lip balm sunscreen (Order of Malta)
- Hand Sanitizer
- Toilet paper and (4) plastic bags (Please be considerate of others and dispose of properly.)
- Order of Malta Prayer Card
Know that many of us are praying for you even in these difficult times. May God continue to bless you only as He can.
A new provisional member, Anna Wong, arranged for her employer, United Healthcare of Hawaii, to provide the sports packs, the cloth face masks, and the hand sanitizers for the kits, free of charge. Other items in the kit were procured from a local wholesaler and other Western Association contacts.
Warren and Napualani Wong, Darryl Wong’s brother and sister-in-law, contributed over 500 slippers. About half the slippers (rubber sandals) went to Holy Family Church’s outreach for children in need, the other half were added to the backpacks as part of the hygiene kits.
The Honolulu Location will wait until all of their volunteers are vaccinated before they distribute the hygiene kits directly to the homeless and needy. Until then, Honolulu Chaplain, Fr. Lane Akiona, will coordinate the kit distribution in the Waikiki area. A portion of the kits will be disbursed to the homeless at the Institute for Human Services (IHS), in the Honolulu Harbor area, where the Order serves through its Order of Malta Meals Grant program.