Photo Credit: Barbara Kenrich
Photo Caption: Coldwell Banker Island Properties agents Elizabeth Woods and Melissa
by Alma Tassi
Sometimes one good deed can spark another. That’s what happened to RAM member Elizabeth Woods when she was volunteering at the local shelter. She said, “We were serving dinner at the Ka Hale A Ke Ola Homeless Resource Center's Wailuku location seven years ago and realized so many children were in the shelter. We got our Coldwell Banker Island Properties agents to join us in a holiday gift drive, for both the homeless shelters (Wailuku and Lahaina locations) and Women Helping Women.” She continued, “The 2023 holiday season was our seventh year. Unfortunately, due to the fires, there is no Lahaina shelter location, but we were still able to provide gifts for all of the kids.”
Woods coordinated with the homeless shelters and Women Helping Women to get a list of the children, age, gender, and a wish list of gifts. Then Coldwell Banker agents and other community members who found out about the drive picked a child, bought the gift of choice, and brought it unwrapped and tagged to a Coldwell Banker office. Every year there are remaining children on the list, but several volunteers shop for those gifts so every keiki has something to open. A few days before the holidays, the team brings the collected gifts to the shelters.
Domestic violence can happen to anyone regardless of race, age, sexual orientation, religion, or gender, affects people of all socioeconomic backgrounds and education levels, and can happen to intimate partners who are married, living together, or dating. The mission of Women Helping Women is to end domestic violence through advocacy, education and prevention; and to offer safety, support, and empowerment to women and children, victims of domestic violence. This past year, Women Helping Women provided emergency shelter for over 200 women and children, 400 people with restraining orders and answered over 5,000 phone calls on their helpline.
Woods shares why it’s been so important for their team to do this every year. “We want to bring joy and happiness to the kids staying at Women Helping Women during the holidays. We want them to be able to tell their friends at school that they got a cool new gift from Santa.” She continues, “It is important to us that we share with others. We value our community. We appreciate that we are in a position to help. This holiday gift drive has become the best part of the holidays! The cliché ‘it is better to give than receive’ is really true.”
If you are in crisis or need information right away, please call the Women Helping Women 24-hour Hotline: 808-579-9581. For other inquiries, please call 808-242-6600, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit womenhelpingwomenmaui.com.
Realtor means a member of the National Association of Realtors. Do you know a Realtors Association of Maui member who should be recognized for their contributions to the community? If so, send your story idea to Alma Tassi at email@example.com.