By Lisa M. Dahm
North Hawaii News
It was the one day a year to wear a fancy hat, to eat from fine china and to spend an uninterrupted three hours with friends.
For the almost 150 people who attended the Spring High Tea and Silent Auction from 1 to 4 p.m., April 7, at the Waikii Ranch Clubhouse, the spirited afternoon was also a valuable opportunity to support North Hawaii Hospice.
“It is a great fund raiser and I think a good friend raiser,” said Sharon Potter, who has been helping with the annual event since it first began five years ago.
North Hawaii Hospice, in Waimea, is an organization that helps care for the physical, spiritual and emotional needs of terminally ill patients and their families.
This year, the event honored Mary Koski, a well-known local artist who attended the high tea with her daughter. Each of the 16 tables was hosted by different women who were responsible for inviting guests, creating the table arrangement around a theme and bringing the china and glassware.
Since the food served at the tea was made by volunteers, the high tea was also an opportunity for them to get creative with tea sandwiches such as cucumber with fresh mint butter, chicken salad with smoked almonds and sun-dried tomato, pesto and cream cheese. Sweet treats included coconut macaroons, rich chocolate bites and Mexican wedding cakes.
Many who attended the event had friends and family the organization helped. Vanessa Kalama and Stephanie Rutgers hosted a table in honor of their mother, Brigitte Rutgers, who volunteered for hospice for more than 15 years.
“My sister and I did a table for my Mom,” Kalama said. “We’re keeping her alive today.”
Since her mother was from France, the sister decorated their favors with chocolate Eiffel Towers, a piece of a lavender flower and dragonfly ribbon and a photo of their mother attached. The centerpiece also included a photo of Brigitte.
Tiffany Bergin, whose husband is a veterinarian, decorated her table with a Kentucky Derby theme. She said that it was the first time she’s hosted a table, but she feels it is important to support hospice.
“Hospice helped my grandmother in her final days,” Bergin said.
According to Katherine Ciano, executive director, no patient is turned away from North Hawaii Hospice, regardless of if they have insurance or not.
“Everyone knows as long as we are there, they will not be without hospice service,” Ciano said.
Ciano said for patients who are covered by insurance, it typically covers about 70 percent of the total amount. North Hawaii Hospice must find the rest through fundraisers and donations.
Marty Hind, who was a table hostess and is a member of the board of trustees for the organization, said her family used hospice for her mother-in-law. She said it was an “invaluable service.”
“People don’t want to talk about end-of-life issues,” Hind said. “It is something that affects all of us.”
Charlotte Nairn, who attended the event, called hospice an “important organization” and said attending the high tea is a way for her to support it. Nairn called the people who work for hospice “angels.”
“I think it is so important that people are supported at the end of their days, ” Nairn said.
For more information on North Hawaii Hospice or to donate, visit northhawaiihospice.org.