Slippah Project Takes Next Step
In October 2005, the members of the HawaiiThreads.com message board were asked about their “Christmas Wishlist.” Though the first answers ranged from “world peace” to kitchen appliances, local activist and big-hearted gadfly Lynn Vasquez-Dela Cerna had a simple answer. “I do have something to wish for,” she wrote. “I wish for all the children of [Mayor Wright Housing] to have a pair of rubber slippers so they won’t have to go bare footed.”
Mayor Wright Housing is a public housing project in Kalihi, known to most Honolulu residents as crime-ridden monument to broken dreams. Lynn, also known as “Aunty Lynn Pupule” (“pupule” meaning crazy or wild), was a long-time resident of MWH, a newly minted blogger, and a force of nature online. And her spontaneous wish, posted to a message board four years ago, has since grown into Auntie Lynn’s Christmas Wish Slippah Project.
That first year, backed by several individual and business donors, Lynn distributed 500 pairs of slippers to MWH youth. By 2007 with local web guru Blaine Fergerstrom helping with logistics and online fundraising food, toys, and other supplies were delivered along with over 1,000 pairs of slippers, and the project expanded to include homeless kids on the Leeward Coast. And last year, the Slippah Project grew by leaps and bounds, and reached over a dozen communities across Oahu as well as to Kauai, Maui, and the Big Island.
This year will mark the Slippah Project’s fifth year. Fundraising has begun again. But yesterday, this grassroots movement passed a long-sought milestone.
“With the help of another legendary local woman, Kehaulani Watson, we officially became The Slippah Foundation, a genuine, Hawai’i 501c3 nonprofit corporation,” Blaine wrote. “The board consists of Lynn, Kehau and me. You can now make your checks to The Slippah Foundation.”
To help The Slippah Foundation continue to spread joy to families in need, you can donate online at Slippah.org, the preferred and most convenient fundraising option. However, if you want to make sure every cent reaches the children, you can mail a check to:
The Slippah Foundation
1689 Piikea St.
Honolulu, HI 96818
What’s next? The distribution caravan to the Leeward Coast will take place on Saturday, Dec. 19. The “Slippah Christmas Celebration” at MWH will be held on Monday, Dec. 21. The event will be sponsored by KauKau Wagon, with volunteers from the MWH Tenant Association and Hawaii Literacy.
It’s been a joy to watch The Slippah Project grow from a message board post into a bonafide charity campaign. And kudos to Lynn and Blaine (and a multitude of donors and volunteers) for keeping the flame burning all these years. Who would have thought that the simplest of island footwear would come to represent happiness and hope to hundreds of Hawaii families?