HONOLULU, Hawaii (KHON2) – Many people recognize Secret Santa as a holiday tradition among friends or maybe a few family members. However, for two Oahu teenagers, it’s their way of giving back during the holidays.
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Rylee Brooke Kamahele and Kadence Fergerstrom are bringing joy to the community with the Secret Santa Project Hawaii.
“The mission of our project is to bring Christmas to the low income and houses children of Hawaii,” said Kadence Fergerstrom, co-founder of the Secret Santa Project Hawaii.
“It’s a year long toy drive collection and we adopt certain shelters, organizations or even just individual families,” said Rylee Brooke Kamahele, also a co-founder of the Secret Santa Project Hawaii.
For one part of the duo, the Coronavirus pandemic’s struggles are all too familiar and provides more motivation to give back.
“I think I was 3 years old and my dad got into a car accident. We had a really hard time paying bills and our water and electric was all shut off. That was just a season for us, but I can’t imagine how these families feel. So we go in, we provide Christmas and we just allow them some time to take their minds off of things that are happening with their personal lives,” Kamahele said.
Since 2016, the project has helped over 1,000 children and their families across Hawaii.
Their motto is, kids helping kids. This year, the Secret Santa Project Hawaii will help over 500 recipients from the Life 360 Network.
“This year has been definitely different and uncomfortable, but they’re emphasizing on Aloha and at this time we need to be united,” said Nerose Iosia, a life coach at Life 360 Network. “I’m just thankful for this platform that they’re using. It’s bringing hope, it’s changing lives and the smallest gifts can change a person’s life.”
The Secret Santa Project has wish lists posted on their social media pages.
The community can still adopt a teen in need by direct messaging the wish list and donating presents before December 23.
“You don’t have to donate presents, we take monetary donations too and of course just donations of literally anything. We like to provide an all around Christmas spirit experience,” Fergerstrom said.
To learn more about the Secret Santa Project Hawaii, click here.