As part of Aloha Ballroom Dance Academy's yearlong charitable mission, the nonprofit annually hosts a drive for wrapped gifts which are donated to the Ka Hale A Ke Ola and Na Hale O Wainee homeless resource centers so that the children can wake up to the magic of the holiday season. "For the past 12 years, the academy has provided every needy child at the homeless shelter(s) with a gift from Santa," said Rita O'Connor, the academy's dance professional.
A donation of a wrapped gift for a child at the homeless resource centers, will be accepted by the academy at the Kihei Community Center on Wednesday evenings through Dec. 19.
The academy, will also host holiday dance classes and a holiday dance party from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Dec. 19. There will be light refreshments and the disc jockey sounds of Private Image Dance Studio. Admission to this adults-only party is $5 per person with a wrapped donated gift for the homeless resource center or $10 per person without a gift. Current academy students will be admitted free of charge.
Rita O’Connor, Aloha Ballroom Dance Academy’s dance professional, poses next to Christmas decoractions.
The gifts should be wrapped with a secure label indicating gender and age range for easiest distribution. In lieu of a wrapped gift, the academy will accept a financial donation for the purchase of a gift card or item for the gender and/or ages lacking in gifts donated.
"Traditionally, we have collected more than we need for the younger kids and considerably less than we need for the older kids," said O'Connor. "So please don't forget the teens. Many of the older kids, ages 13 to 17, prefer clothing and gift cards over anything else."
Items in high demand include new toys, games, books, board games, clothing, cosmetics, ethnic items, DVDs and CDs, skateboards, watersport boards, bikes, watches, sports equipment, jewelry, diaries, MP3 players and many other items. Gift cards from Walmart, Kmart, Old Navy, Queen Ka'ahumanu Center, movie theaters, local eateries, etc., are also well received.