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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, December 19, 2009

Young parents have no means to buy clothes, baby bassinet

By Will Hoover
Advertiser Staff Writer

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser
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If you want to help, send checks payable to "The Advertiser Christmas Fund" to Helping Hands Hawai'i, 2100 N. Nimitz Highway, Honolulu, HI 96819.

Monetary donations may also be dropped off at any First Hawaiian Bank branch or The Advertiser's cashier's desk, or credit card donations can be accepted by phone at 440-3831.

Donations will be accepted through Jan. 2.

To schedule a donation pick-up for large items, to make a monetary donation by phone, or to get information regarding adopting a family, call 440-3800 or e-mail hhh@helpinghandshawaii.org.

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Until recently, Alainne Mondala and Lopaka Pitt of Waipahu were barely making ends meet while keeping their new baby son fed and clothed.

But at least they were both employed. Between what Pitt was earning at a pizza shop and Mondala was bringing home as a part-time amusement company worker, they managed to get by.

But when Mondala's maternity leave ended and the couple couldn't afford a baby sitter during the times she was on the clock, Pitt tried to fit work duties in with child-care responsibilities and ended up losing his job.

Since then, with maternity bills and mounting living expenses to pay, Pitt has had no luck finding work in a troubled Island economy. One week he sent out 70 job applications and made follow-up phone calls. The effort netted him a solitary interview and no employment offers.

"I would just like to get a job," he said. "It is disappointing when you can't even get a job at McDonalds."

In the meantime, the family is forced to do without. Mondala needs prescription eyeglasses, but wears a used pair that's not suited for her vision; Pitt does without new clothes he badly needs; and the baby, now 8 months old, has outgrown his bassinet.

Carrie Somera, case worker with the Child and Family Service Healthy Start Program, said the couple receives no outside financial assistance and relies solely on Mondala's part-time income.

With the focus strictly on basic necessities, her income does not include a holiday budget.

"We have no Christmas gifts," she said. "I wanted to get them, but I don't have the money. My paycheck is already gone, just paying bills."

She said the family would be grateful for help from anyone this Christmas.

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