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Hawaii Air National Guard helps serve up Christmas cheer

Members of the Hawaii Air National Guard joined 200 Lanakila Meals on Wheels volunteers in preparing over 700 meals for home bound elderly, Dec. 25, 2015, Honolulu. Members of the HIANG have been assisting in meal preparation and delivery on Thanksgiving and Christmas mornings for more than 10 years. Lanakila Pacific is a nonprofit organization that builds independence for thousands of people living challenged lives. (U.S. Air National Guard Photo by Tech. Sgt. Andrew Jackson/released)

Members of the Hawaii Air National Guard joined 200 Lanakila Meals on Wheels volunteers in preparing over 700 meals for home bound elderly, Dec. 25, 2015, Honolulu. Members of the HIANG have been assisting in meal preparation and delivery on Thanksgiving and Christmas mornings for more than 10 years. Lanakila Pacific is a nonprofit organization that builds independence for thousands of people living challenged lives. (U.S. Air National Guard Photo by Tech. Sgt. Andrew Jackson/released)

Members of the Hawaii Air National Guard joined 200 Lanakila Meals on Wheels volunteers in preparing over 700 meals for home bound elderly, Dec. 25, 2015, Honolulu. Members of the HIANG have been assisting in meal preparation and delivery on Thanksgiving and Christmas mornings for more than 10 years. Lanakila Pacific is a nonprofit organization that builds independence for thousands of people living challenged lives. (U.S. Air National Guard Photo by Tech. Sgt. Andrew Jackson/released)

Members of the Hawaii Air National Guard joined 200 Lanakila Meals on Wheels volunteers in preparing over 700 meals for home bound elderly, Dec. 25, 2015, Honolulu. Members of the HIANG have been assisting in meal preparation and delivery on Thanksgiving and Christmas mornings for more than 10 years. Lanakila Pacific is a nonprofit organization that builds independence for thousands of people living challenged lives. (U.S. Air National Guard Photo by Tech. Sgt. Andrew Jackson/released)

Airman 1st Class Myra Zevallos,154th Logistics Readiness Squadron sorts meals for distribution while volunteering for Lanakila Meals on Wheels, Dec. 25, 2015, Honolulu. Over 700 meals where delivered to home bound elderly on the island of Oahu on Christmas morning. Lanakila Pacific is a nonprofit organization that builds independence for thousands of people living challenged lives. Members of the Hawaii Air National Guard have been assisting in the many phases of meal preparation and delivery for over 10 years. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Andrew Jackson/released)

Airman 1st Class Myra Zevallos,154th Logistics Readiness Squadron sorts meals for distribution while volunteering for Lanakila Meals on Wheels, Dec. 25, 2015, Honolulu. Over 700 meals where delivered to home bound elderly on the island of Oahu on Christmas morning. Lanakila Pacific is a nonprofit organization that builds independence for thousands of people living challenged lives. Members of the Hawaii Air National Guard have been assisting in the many phases of meal preparation and delivery for over 10 years. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Andrew Jackson/released)

HONOLULU, Hawaii -- With much of Hawaii still asleep early on Christmas morning, a group of Hawaii Air National Guard airmen and their families joined over 200 volunteers at Lanakila Pacific's Meals on Wheels program.

The volunteers were there to help cook, plate, and deliver Christmas day meals to some of Honolulu's citizens in need.

"We (HIANG) serve the state (Hawaii)" said Senior Master Sgt. David Sala, 154th Logistics and Readiness Squadron Material Management Superintendent. "We look at this as an opportunity to give back always, to serve the community."

HIANG members also assisted at last month's Thanksgiving meal effort. This year marks the eleventh year HIANG members and family have volunteered at the meal program.

"We volunteer knowing that the less fortunate will be able to enjoy a hot meal without worries. When you return home from this event, you have a warm feeling knowing that they too can share in the good times." said Sala.

Lanakila Meals on Wheels provides meal delivery to Honolulu's senior citizens and adults with disabilities. According to officials, the program provided almost 260,000 meals to over 2,000 senior over the course of last year. Thanksgiving and Christmas day events each delivered over 700 meals to senior citizens in need.

"About 200 volunteers help with the Christmas meal program." said Lyn Moku, Lanakila Meals on Wheels Program Director. "We could not provide this service without the help of our volunteers, many of whom have volunteered with us for years."
With home a delivery program, group dining program at sixteen locations across Oahu, and a paid staff of only twenty, success of the meal program depends on a steady stream of volunteers throughout the year.

HIANG members' kids were also part of the volunteer effort, manning juice stations and helping with plating.

"Gifts of time, expertise and resources will make all the difference in the lives of our seniors and their families. We cannot do this alone, we cannot leave our seniors alone." said Moku.

This year's Special Hawaiian Christmas menu included Pork Lau Lau, Kalua Turkey and Cabbage, Chicken Long Rice, Sweet Potato, and Haupia.