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Help for needy continues in Wailua

WAILUA — Renee Agustine needed her foot looked at, said Rowena Contrades-Pangan of the Ho‘omana Thrift Store in Wailua Friday afternoon.

“She had surgery on her foot,” Contrades-Pangan said. “And she hasn’t been back to the doctor since.”

Registered Nurse Patricia Coon tended to Agustine’s foot, equipping her with a soft shoe so she would be more comfortable while healing.

“She still had the stitches in,” Coon said. “I took them out and cleaned the area before getting her the soft shoe.”

Agustine was one of the beneficiaries of Na Wai Eha aid program hosted by the Ho‘omana Thrift Store in partnership with the Hanalei River Heritage Foundation and other community agencies following a successful launch the Saturday before, where 54 individuals received care and benevolent aid.

“The big difference is the Project Vision Hi‘ehi‘e mobile-shower unit,” Contrades-Pangan said. “During the first event, they were busy from start to end. Today, they’ll probably be busy all the way through because it’s only been less than two hours and already there are 21 showers booked. That is more than the 14 they serviced on the first event.”

Contrades-Pangan said the hot showers help clients open up and discuss their needs and problems, and just feel good.

“There are ladies coming through the store who have not had a change of clothes in a month,” Contrades-Pangan said. “They get the shower, a change of clothes, usually opting for long dresses like prom gowns, and what a dramatic change. Today we are fortunate to get the service of a trained beautician who is lending his expertise with free haircuts. There’s a lady who hasn’t had a haircut in months and everything is just hanging.”

Kaiole Villanueva-Texeira tended to haircuts sandwiched between parked cars and the walls of the thrift store, checking for missed spots on David La‘amea’s head.

“This feels good,” La‘amea said. “If I had one of those, I’d leave it on and go to sleep,” he said of the electric razor.

Dory Farias of Hale Ho‘omalu family center, operated by Child &Family Service, was on hand to help people with applications for the Electronic Banking Transfer (EBT) Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps).

“I brought Malama Pono Health Services with me to help with smoking cessation for some of these clients,” said Farias. When I can’t make this, Rowena takes the information so I can do the follow-ups.”

“Unfortunately, our vaccine people are only able to work on weekends, so we’re going to see if we can do at least one event during the weekend so the vaccine clinics are able to be here. During the last event, Saturday, they said they administered more vaccines than any of their previous stops,” said Contrades-Pangan.”

Another of the new additions to the program was the Hilton Garden Inn Kaua‘i Wailua Bay, which prepared hot meals for Friday’s event.

“Adobo and mac salad is the bomb,” said Napua McKeague, who walked more than five families from Kealia to enjoy the Ho‘omana hospitality. “We haven’t had a hot meal for months, and this makes everything taste even better.”

Ho‘omana Thrift Store hosts the help event on Fridays from 2 to 5 p.m.
Source: The Garden Island

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