• Festive Fun, Camaraderie at Holiday AfterHours; Kona-Kohala Chamber Members Brighten Holidays for Local Families

    December 17, 2018
    By Fern Gavelek, photos by Pam Latinis
    NETWORKING—It was a full house of 150 at the Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce’s (KKCC) holiday AfterHours, which offered attendees the opportunity to dress in swanky attire while networking and feasting on delicious pupus by Foster’s Kitchen and Daylight Mind Coffee Company.
    In lieu of an admission fee, attendees donated unwrapped toys and cash to benefit needy children via Family Support Hawai‘i.
    Hosts for the Great Gatsby & the 1920s-themed evening was West Hawaiʻi Community Health Center. The open-air event was held at WHCHC’s Kealakehe Health Center Pavilion and attendees enjoyed a beautiful sunset, complete with a green flash!
    In addition to the glittery, festive atmosphere, attendees enjoyed a specialty currant cocktail by Gertrude’s Jazz Bar, craft beers by Kona Brewing Company, DJ music and dancing—members tried their “feet” at doing the Charleston and Foxtrot.   
    Offering “quality health care accessible to everyone,” WHCHC is a non-profit with five locations in West Hawai‘i. Services include medical, dental, behavioral health and wellness education for people of all ages
    “We provide care to all regardless of income, serving 25% of the population,” explained Richard Taaffe, president /CEO. “We take all forms of insurance and do outreach with the homeless, farm workers and Pacific Islanders.
    Taaffe noted WHCHC will start providing mental health services in schools and is proud the Kealakehe location is on Hawaiian Homelands. “We were invited to be here and so we think of this special place as one of healing and safety—a modern-day pu‘uhouna or place of refuge,” he continued.
    WHCHC is accepting new patients. The non-profit provides preventive medical care; treatment and management of chronic medical conditions; immunizations; women’s health and family planning; physicals; behavioral health assessment and treatment or referral; keiki health care; STD testing and treatment; and addiction services. For questions about services or to schedule an appointment, phone 808-326-5629.
    Thanks to the generosity of KKCC members, 125 unwrapped toys were collected for donation to Family Support Hawai‘i—an organization whose mission is to support families in providing love and care for children. In addition, a total of $410 was collected for the organization to purchase additional holiday gifts for keiki—including teens. Toys will be distributed at the Fatherhood Initiative’s annual Christmas with our Keiki event.
    “We are very grateful to the Kona-Kohala Chamber for their generosity,” shared Caleb Milliken, director of the Fatherhood Initiative at Family Support Hawaiʻi. “These toys will bring joy to the keiki in our community during this holiday season.”
    The next AfterHours is 5-7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 16 at the Regency at Hualalai in Kailua-Kona. Signup at www.kona-kohala.com or phone 329-1758.
    The Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce is a non-profit member organization that exists to provide leadership and advocacy for a successful business environment in West Hawaiʻi. They work to strengthen the local economy and promote the community. More information at www.kona-kohala.com.


    HOLIDAY HOSTS—Representing the board of directors and staff at West Hawaii Community Health Center during the December AfterHours were from left: Joann Freed, Eugene Yap, Terri Toki, Lisa Freudenberger, Ann Chiodini, Darlene DuPont, Rebecca Logan, Brett Carey and Richard Taaffe. Photo by Pam Latinis.

    Family Support Hawaii
    GIFT GIVING—Masked KKCC member Carol Hanna places a football on the growing pile of holiday donations during the Chamber’s annual keiki gift drive while Liana Kainoa and Caleb Miliken of Family Support Hawai‘i give their approval. Photo by Pam Latinis.
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