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West // West Oahu Coverstory
Christina O’Connor

Shoe Collection To Help Needy Keiki

Kapolei resident Kea Davis-Milo is looking to help low-income and homeless children this holiday season through a shoe drive, Project Give: Soles 4 Souls.

Davis-Milo and her Life 4 Kea Charities are seeking donations of new or gently used shoes or sandals for children from newborns to age 17.

Donations can be made at Jackson Hewitt Tax Service in Kapolei, as well as its Kalihi office, and at Limited Addiction in Kalihi. The campaign launched late last month, and donations can be made through Dec. 20. Donations are accepted from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Fridays at Jackson Hewitt in Kapolei; from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday-Thursday at Jackson Hewitt in Kalihi; and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Saturday at Limited Addiction. Rubber slippers are not accepted.

After the collection, Life 4 Kea will deliver the shoes to low-income housing communities, various homeless shelters and areas where homeless populations live. Delivery sites have yet to be finalized, but Davis-Milo said that a number of them will be in the West Oahu area, stretching to the Waianae Coast.

During the shoe deliveries, a visit from Santa Claus and Christmas music also are planned.

Life 4 Kea Charities was launched in 2011 by friends and family of Davis-Milo after she had been diagnosed with a rare cerebrovascular condition called Moyamoya disease.

“In December of 2011, I had to have two brain surgeries,” explained Davis-Milo, who has been a musician in the Islands for nearly 20 years and also is a store manager at Jackson Hewitt. “And so what happened is that my family put a committee together called the Life 4 Kea Committee. Along with the help of different companies and all of Hawaii, we were able to raise $150,000.”

That money went toward Davis-Milo’s medical bills, enabling her to receive treatment. Following the surgeries, she returned home to recover.

“I really have this attitude of gratitude now, where I want to give back in any way that I possibly can,” Davis-Milo said. “Through the keiki, I believe, is the most powerful way to give back.”

Davis-Milo now has taken over the group and is working to transform it into a versatile charity organization. Currently, the group is pending 501(c)(3) status. So far, under Life 4 Kea, Davis-Milo has organized fundraisers for several individuals and their families, including a cancer patient who could not pay medical bills and a family that could not afford a loved one’s funeral service.

Davis-Milo came up with the idea for the drive a couple of weeks ago while listening to the radio.

“You always hear (about) different fundraisers that help people outside of Hawaii. But there are people here, there are children here in Hawaii, who deserve the same attention,” she said.

“I had seen what the children in low-income housing were like – and how they don’t have many toys, let alone shoes,” said Davis-Milo, who lived in low-income housing when she and her husband were first starting out.

Davis-Milo hopes to gather at least 200,000 pairs of shoes.

“I am making it my mission to just try to help the keiki as much as I possibly can,” she said.

The campaign has collected more than 200 pairs of shoes as of last week.

Davis-Milo’s effort has become a family affair. Her two children, ages 10 and 11, are getting involved in the project, too. During a shoe collection on Black Friday, her children helped her work the collection site from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m.

“I have always been helped my entire life,” Davis-Milo said. “I have always been blessed to have people wanting to help me and my children and my family. I just want to give back.

“I survived brain surgery, and I just believe that God has brought me back for a reason.”

For more information, call 489-2906 or email life4kea@yahoo.com.

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