“Volunteering brings us joy.”

Left to right: Clarice Roby, Geraldine Yamashita, Kathy Tanaka, Joanne Ing, and Robin Hermance.

National Volunteer week gives us an opportunity to highlight volunteers who make a difference in our community.

by Brandi Salas

They may be retired teachers, but at Christmas time, Clarice Roby, Geraldine Yamashita, Kathy Tanaka, Joanne Ing, and Robin Hermance turn into Santa’s elves. “We volunteer every year,” says Joanne Ing. “It has become a tradition for our group to volunteer for The Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program, which serves local kids and seniors.”

The Angel Tree program is a way for The Salvation Army to fulfill requests for Christmas gifts for underserved kids and seniors across the islands. Anyone can pick an angel to adopt and fulfill their wish for a toy, new clothes, or an item they need. “We like the concept,” says Kathy. “People really enjoy buying a present for someone in need. We all enjoy seeing the generosity of other people. It’s amazing how some people don’t care about how much it costs to make a complete stranger happy.” The retired teachers all agree that this volunteer opportunity leaves them feeling good about helping others. “Angel Tree is a way to bring a smile to someone’s face anonymously and it really touches my heart when I see children picking out gifts for children they have never met before,” says Kathy. “They understand how important it is to give back and some have made it a tradition each year.”

Volunteers are a valuable resource at The Salvation Army. Thousands volunteer to feed families, bell ring, or collect gifts for the Angel Tree program during the holidays. “Some may think the volunteers provide the service, but the service always comes back to the volunteers. We enjoy seeing happy faces when we volunteer and it brings us joy,” said Kathy.

“That’s true,” agrees Robin Hermance, “As a volunteer, it’s nice to exchange stories with my fellow retired teachers. We all volunteer for The Salvation Army during the holidays and we see so many good things. For me, I don’t get out much from my neighborhood, so The Salvation Army gives me a reason to go to help others and see new places at the same time.”

Last year, The Salvation Army was able to provide more than 24,000 gifts for children and seniors across the islands thanks to thousands of volunteers, caring partners, and friends like you.

Mahalo for being a part of our impact in our island communities!

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