The holiday season has come and gone, but some people in the community (and around the world) are still feeling the blessings bestowed by one person’s giving heart.
Heather Faustin spent the days before Thanksgiving organizing an outreach to make meals for the homeless on the Saturday before the holiday.
She started this project in 2007 with Bob Erb, founder of Waikiki Beach Outreach Ministry.
“Every Wednesday we would make 200 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to pass out in Waikiki,” she explains. “From there, I was inspired to make sandwiches for those in Ala Moana Beach Park and Kakaako.”
The program now has volunteers from different churches around the island, and this past Thanksgiving they made 625 chicken pesto sandwiches, which were each served with a bag of pumpkin spice cookies and juice.
Faustin also keeps busy around Christmas, and participates in the Angel Tree Ministry, which she’s done for several years. In addition, she helps with Operation Christmas Child.
Last year, she spent time Christmas Eve at Kapiolani Hospital for Women and Children, and Christmas Day at Shriners Hospitals for Children.
“My favorite part is not only being able to bless the children with a gift, but also having the opportunity to hand-deliver the presents to their house,” she says of Angel Tree Ministry. “My favorite part about going to the hospitals was seeing the smiles of all the kids.”
Faustin’s gracious spirit also extends to other countries. She took her first trip to Bali in summer 2010, and she has returned every summer since.
“My connection to Bali stems from my love for Jesus, surfing and people,” says the Makakilo native, who now lives in Honolulu. “Over the past four years I’ve made friends who have become family. My trips last about three weeks. It may seem long, but it’s never enough.
“My passion for surfing has allowed me to create instant connections with the people of Bali, my compassion for people motivates me to get involved, and my love for Jesus gives me eyes to see how I can.”
During her time in Bali, Faustin taught surfing to children, organized beach cleanups, visited orphanages and donated hundreds of items to natives.
She doesn’t always get to be part of a “structured” event when giving back, but her heart always is searching for different ways to give.
“I’ve learned over the years that it’s tough fundraising and budgeting, but more importantly getting creative and giving back in small ways opens the possibilities to inspire people to do the same,” she explains.
Faustin also has high hopes for the future and is steering her career in the direction her heart is going. She will graduate from Chaminade in May with her master’s degree in counseling psychology, and she hopes to use her degree to “advocate for those in our backyard, or spend time in Bali for a longer period of time in efforts to partner in the healing there.”