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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, December 14, 2006

Life in Islands is a daily struggle

Help our neighbors in need

By Mary Vorsino
Advertiser Staff Writer


Send checks, payable to "The Advertiser Christmas Fund," to Helping Hands Hawai'i, P.O. Box 17780, Honolulu, HI 96817. Helping Hands will accept credit card donations by telephone, 440-3831. Monetary donations may also be dropped off at any First Hawaiian Bank branch or The Advertiser's information desk. Monetary donations help operate Community Clearinghouse programs year-round.

Material goods can be taken to the Community Clearinghouse, 2100 N. Nimitz Highway, near Pu'uhale Road. For large-item pickup and additional information, call 440-3804.

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• Make an online donation to the Christmas Fund.

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Instead of a honeymoon, the Yaws decided to move to Hawai'i in 2003.

But they soon realized life is not always easy in the Islands for a young working family, with the high cost of living and cramped living quarters. Within months, they had spent their savings on food and hotel rooms and were near homelessness.

Today, Jay and Kazuko are living in a small two-bedroom in Kaimuki and are expecting their second child in February. Though they both have jobs, they still struggle to make ends meet and don't have any extra money for Christmas gifts this year.

Jay Yaw, 28, says his son is too young to mind the absence of presents, but Kazuko Yaw wants to make her child's holiday season special. She asked for books and educational toys for her son, who will be 2 years old in February.

The Yaws met in Colorado. Kazuko, a saleswoman, is originally from Japan and has no family in the United States. Jay Yaw is a graveyard-shift security guard. He works overtime as often as he can to bring in more money to the household.

"We barely have enough," Yaw said. "I can't see how people make it around here."

Yaw said he wants to move to the Big Island, where rents are a little cheaper and the family could have an easier time. But Kazuko says she doesn't want to move.

Despite the high cost of living, she said, she loves the excitement of Honolulu.

The two are trying to work it out, and in the meantime are discussing how to plan for their family's new addition, which will be a girl. Yaw said he often worries about not being able to provide for his family and is trying to save up a little money for baby expenses. So far, his attempts to save money have been in vain, he said.

Every time he puts a little money away, he is forced to take it out to buy groceries or pay bills. Sometimes, just before pay day, the family has no food or money.

In addition to books for their child, the couple would appreciate any monetary donations for household and baby items. Their son wears a size 3T.


Second-grade students, Mililani Waena Elementary School $630.67

Patti Perez, in loving memory of my husband, William B. Perez $400

Matt, Andy and Carly $300

DOE Student Assessment Section $250

Contemporary Gardens $200

G. Painter Cunningham $200

Janice and John McCague $200

Donald Thompson $200

Jan Weinberg $150

Henry C. Char $100

Tony Costa, Hawai'i Nearshore Fisherman $100

Gunther and Resi Marie Ditzel $100

Raymond and Mieko Hasegawa $100

Darrell Hester, in loving memory of my wife, Kap Hester $100

Carol Holverson $100

Raymond and Patsy Kanzaki $100

T. Kunimoto $100

Charles and Robert Nakagawa $100

Milton and Madelline Oshiro $100

Gloria and Eugene Perry $100

Aileen Pistone $100

Walter Sakuda $100

Patti and R.P. Singlehurst, in memory of Tutu, Opa, Popo and Papa $100

Ernest Tonaki and James Akamine $100

Kathryn Wiser $100

Austyn, Brandie and Karyssa $50

Kevin Crabb $50

Mildred Guenther $50

Lynn Lane $50

Jared and Candace Nakamoto $50

Sharon and Terry $50

Charles and Lillian Tamabayashi $50

Textile department volunteers and staff, Honolulu Academy of Arts $50

Jeanette Young $50

Lisa Dearmin $40

M.L. and Ray $30

Electra Fair $25

Dennis Kawahara $25

Walter and Lydia Leonard $25

Enid Pittman $25

Richard Schmidt $25

Ann Shinno and Michael Sato $25

Gladys and Irwin Thom $25

Angelo and Grandma $20

Brigette Nakata $20

Clarkson Chin $15

The Grandies $2

Anonymous $500

Anonymous $150

Anonymous $150

Anonymous $50

Anonymous $50

Anonymous $25

Total $5,807.67

Previous total $51,178.67

Total to date $56,986.34

Reach Mary Vorsino at mvorsino@honoluluadvertiser.com.