15 Craigside ‘Kupuna’ Send Handmade Love to Local Hospital

The crafters group at 15 Craigside show off the items made for patients at Queen’s Medical Center in Honolulu.

A warm beanie for a newborn. A blanket for a cancer patient. These and other gifts, lovingly created by residents at the United Church of Christ-affiliated 15 Craigside in Honolulu, bring comfort to patients at nearby Queen’s Medical Center.

When Queen’s Medical Center announced a new “Volunteers in Place” program, the group from 15 Craigside was the first to respond. Bob Morikawa, a 15 Craigside resident, and Leilyn Lui Yamamoto, the community’s programs manager, were key in bringing the program to the campus.

The group eagerly volunteered for the program because “it keeps us motivated,” says one of the crafters, “and it’s comforting to know that we can help.”

The crafters make newborn beanies; cancer caps, shawls, and lap blankets; and cardiac pillows for open-heart surgery patients from fabric and materials provided to them through donations to the hospital. And the 15 Craigside group doesn’t even require that its members know how to make all the items. “It’s exciting,” says another volunteer, “because we learn from each other.”

Recently, Hawai’i News Now recognized the 15 Craigside Volunteers in Place residents as “Kupuna Achievers,” a video series that highlights elders who unselfishly volunteer their time to give back to enhance the lives of others.

The recognition fits with the definitions of kupuna, a Hawai’ian word that generally means “honored elder” or “older person,” but also can mean “the source, the starting point or the process of growth.” The latter definition is a reference to forebears remaining living treasures to help the community grow, says Kahikahealani Wight, Professor of Hawaiian Language and Literature at Kapi’olani Community College in Honolulu.

Each item delivered to the hospital by the group includes a tag reading, “Handmade with Aloha by the 15 Craigside Craft Club.”

As one member puts it, when a patient receives an item from 15 Craigside, “they know, ‘This product was made with love, care, and Aloha!’”

 

 

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