HONOLULU (KITV4) -- The saying goes, everyone will have experience with caregiving. We either were, are, will be, or will need caregiving at some point in our lives. That's why a Honolulu woman founded a nonprofit Gimme a Break, whose goal is to care for the caregivers.
At its booth at Ohana Hale Marketplace, caregivers can stop by for music or even a quick massage; anything to help them recharge. CEO & Founder Savy Makalena’s simple mission “to give respite, resources, and care to caregivers.”
Makalena founded the group in March 2020 after her experience as a caregiver for both of her parents that started in 2014. Her father died a year later in 2015, but her mother is still alive and has dementia.
“It was very difficult because I didn't know what it was, what was expected of me,” she recalled, sharing that she quit her corporate marketing job to tend to her parents full time.
Makalena recruited two friends to run Gimme A Break with her, which offers everything they wished they had as caregivers.
“We were immersed in caregiving and realized there isn't a lot out there at your fingertips,” Makalena said.
That’s why they’re “trying to put things at the fingertips of caregivers, helping caregivers find things in one place.” They've given out over 300 caregiver survival kits that offer hope and humor.
“It has a tissue so your tears have a soft place to land. Marbles, so you know where to find them and you don't lose them,” she said, describing of some of the items in the kit.
In October they launched a Givers Guide magazine. And they offer free retreats for caregivers.
“We've had caregivers go on our retreats and our pamper sessions. We have our weekly support session,” she said listing just some of the many services of Gimme A Break.
Makalena says she tries to get sponsorships to pay for the retreats, but if there isn’t enough money, she personally covers the rest of the cost. She says she hopes her group gives caregivers the support they need.
“It's being able to give ourselves a voice to tell our story, to inspire one another,” she said.