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Santa came early this year to Alofau Elementary School

tony@samoanews.com
On Thursday last week, the looks and smiles on the children’s face opening up their presents, eager to find out what the early Christmas Santa from De Tamalelei had in store for them this year was “gift” enough for the company’s owner, Tune Vaouli. It is the first time Alofau students have received ‘early’ Santa gifts from a private business; and it is the first time De Tamalelei has played Santa Claus. It’s all part of giving back to the community, owner Vaouli told Samoa News. [photo: TG]

Santa Claus came early this year for the eastern side of the island, as the students of Alofau Elementary were surprised with some Christmas gifts from Mr. Sam Vaouli and the Vaouli family and De Tamalelei Business “Home of the King Size Burgers” in Alofau. Students of Alofau Elementary from grade K-5, Level 1, and Level 2 were more than happy when they opened up their presents and stockings, to find some goodies and toys that came in early for them this Christmas.

More than 30 students were able to be in attendance, and the looks on their faces when they opened their presents, was the golden moment that De Tamalelei owner, Tune Vaouli told Samoa News, is the look that he loves to see on his children’s faces every morning.

“When I saw those kids open their presents and go through their stuff, the looks on their faces... that is  what mattered the most to us… when I saw their faces today, they just seemed  totally surprised, and they didn’t pay attention to anything else anyone was saying, but going through their gifts with big smiles on their faces. That’s the look that I love to see on my children’s faces, and that’s the look that satisfied us today at the school.”

De Tamalelei owner Vaouli, told Samoa News, “this is the first time, to have a business that is owned by my family-- because I am a third generation entrepreneur, which means my father and my grandfather had their businesses--but this is the first time that anyone in my bloodline, has ever given back to our local community.”

He added, “that’s pretty much where the idea came from, and today we were able to come through. And as you can see the looks on their faces when they opened their presents, that’s exactly what we were aiming for today. The joy of people receiving is to let other people know that they care about them.”

Vaouli told Samoa News that they are very honored to be the first ever business on the eastern side of the island to coordinate a project like this at Alofau Elementary School, and he said, “according to the principal of Alofau Elementary, this is the first time that they have ever been greeted like this by a business here on the eastern side of the island, and we are very honored to be the first. Not only that, we are also honored to start with Alofau Elementary, which is our village, and this is where our business is based — Alofau village.”

The business owner told Samoa News they are very blessed, and wanted to share their blessings with the community, by giving back to the people and valued customers, to show their appreciation for their support of their long time business.

“Our business was originally founded back in 1996 where it was called JV’s. Then we closed around 2000 to 2001 due to all of our siblings all growing up, and all of us went off island for school and pursued many other things. But me being the oldest now, and I just happen to be the first one back, I’ve been sitting on this idea for a long time, and I thank God that I was able to re-open it, and rename it, because JV’S stood for Joy, Veronica, Erica and Simala, which was the original name — and because this is now owned by myself and my generation, like me, my younger brothers and sisters, I decided to carry the tradition on forward, and name it after our kids, so De Tamalelei is actually an acronym, for all of my mom and dad’s grandchildren.”

This is the first year that Vaouli and De Tamalelei served up some presents for the students of Alofau Elementary, Vaouli told Samoa News that this is definitely not the last of their giving back to the community. Instead, they are looking at more of an annual angle for this event.

“I know this is the very first one, and God willing… we are hopefully working on continuing to do this annually, and it will eventually start to expand, not only out to other schools, but also out to the high schools on the eastern side like Fagaitua, and Samoana where most of our clients come from; and then eventually islandwide, and that’s further down the line, but as for now, we’re starting off really small, and we’re hoping to expand. The more we grow, the more we can give back to the community.”

With a job well done on sending out the Christmas presents to the students of Alofau Elementary this year, Vaouli would like to acknowledge the supporters that made this project possible. “I would like to thank the Alofau Elementary School principal and the teachers from K-5 all the way up to the second grade, for allowing us to do that this morning... that was just awesome.”

He would also like to send their acknowledgments out to all of their valued customers, saying, “if you haven’t been able to come down to the eastern side of the island, or just passing by and see the sign, please stop by and let us cater to your dining needs for lunch and dinner, our business hours are from 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. every day, except for Sundays.”

“Also I would like to thank my family, my village, and my community on the east, for showing us the love and support that they have been showing us over these past years, also out to everybody island wide who has pitched in and tried to get us out there, like friends and families that are scattered all over the island, and we would like to wish you the best holiday greetings this year, be safe, and Merry Christmas from all ‘of us’ here at De Tamalelei.”



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