Helping Ailing Children Just Got A Little Easier In Kaimuki

A recent gift to HUGS of $24,000 from Forever Giving will help ill children get to medical services off island accompanied by their relatives. And a donation of $22,000 from Zippy’s will go further to provide resources for needy families in the program.

The Kaimuki-based HUGS (Help, Understanding & Group Support) has put the 12-month grant (Forever Giving) into its Emergency Airfare Fund for families needing to be with their keiki for distant treatments. “Many families cannot afford to physically be there with their child undergoing a procedure or surgery on the Mainland, or in some cases on another island,” said HUGS interim CEO John Howell. “HUGS is extremely grateful to Forever Giving for its support of our families.”

Forever Living Products is the largest grower, manufacturer and distributor of aloe vera. Its nonprofit Forever Giving supports human improvement causes and responds to natural disasters.

Zippy’s gift represents its “Have a Heart” promotion in March and April from wristbands and hearts sold as well as customer contributions to collection boxes in its restaurants. “HUGS represents what our company wants to do philosophically for our community to benefit Hawaii’s children and families,” said Paul Yokota, president of Zippy’s parent company, FCH Enterprises. The local restaurant chain has donated about $135,000 over the years to HUGS as well as supporting its annual family dinner and all of its monthly respite food.

For more than three decades, HUGS has assisted families and seriously ill children up to age 21 with emotional, social, physical and financial needs. Its headquarters is located at 3636 Kilauea Ave., near Leahi Hospital.