Our Executive Director Robin (middle) with longtime volunteers from Pearl City Community Church Sue (left) and Jane (right).
As I composed this message in celebration of Grandparents' and Kupuna Day, I reflected on where I was personally when the Kupuna and Family Meals journey began. In late 2019, my mother went home to be with Jesus. My brother and I had been flying her back-and-forth between California and Hawaii so she could spend time with both families. When I broke my ankle in February 2019, my sister-in-law came to take my mother back to California, and my mother spent most of the year there. I felt guilty that I hadn't spent enough time with her. One of my daughters had been taking her to appointments and on outings, and my husband Colin dropped her off and picked her up from adult day care. At the start of the pandemic in March 2020, the Touch A Heart team assessed what we had to offer our community during this time of need—our foodservice internship program and people. Our then-chef/trainer Jensen and I pivoted the program and created Kupuna and Family Meals. This endeavor allowed us to utilize our staff, interns, and graduates-turned-apprentices to prepare the weekly meals. Our Baker’s Heart team also shifted from producing cookies to weekly desserts. This was my opportunity. I became Touch A Heart's "customer service representative"—the point person for placing your online orders, your source of information about our program and other services, and a friend who you could simply talk to. I've witnessed your appreciation for everything—big and small—and your generosity in how you look out for friends and family by donating meals. I'm honored to be of service to you and to receive your love and support of Touch A Heart—all of which have turned my "mourning into dancing." You've truly touched our hearts and transformed our lives as we find meaning and purpose in our daily work. I know my own mother is looking down from Heaven and smiling at all we're doing for our grandparents and kupuna.
With a grateful heart,