LIHU’E — “Gobble gobble,” Judith “Judy” Lenthall, executive director of the Kauai Food Bank, greeted The Salvation Army’s Lihu’e Corps Capt. Mitham Clement.
“That’s how we greet people this time of the year,” Lenthall explained as a steady stream of people flowed into the parking lot of the Hardy Street facility of The Salvation Army.
Friday was the designated day for the annual Thanksgiving turkey distribution for Kaua’i’s needy, and Lenthall estimated that overall, about 700 turkeys will be distributed by Thanksgiving.
Salvation Army officers are the leads for the distribution, Lenthall noted, but there are agencies islandwide whose leaders and volunteers are providing turkeys to people.
Among these are Thy Word Ministries, Aloha Church, Nana’s House, Church of the Pacific, New Hope, Westside United Church of Christ (UCC), Kalaheo Missionary Church, Koloa UCC, Mutual Housing, Lihue Baptist, and Ka La La.
“The Westside alone has over 200 birds allocated,” Lenthall said, noting that The Salvation Army Hanapepe Corps had 100 turkeys to distribute on Friday.
Lenthall said that, in addition to the Thanksgiving packages to the individual families, there are numerous “community feeds” that start as early as today, Saturday, Nov. 19 at 3:30 p.m. at Kapa’a Beach Park.
Aloha Church leaders host their community meal tomorrow, Sunday, Nov. 20, as do officials with Mutual Housing, Lenthall said.
The Salvation Army’s annual community lunch on Wednesday, Nov. 23, will see more than 1,000 meals being prepared and served, Clement said. Kaua’i Marriott Resort & Beach Club chefs cook the turkeys for that event.
A similar lunch is being planned for the Hanapepe Corps, also on Wednesday, Nov. 23, with over 200 attendees expected, Clement said.
Clement noted that this year’s distribution is larger than last year’s program, with over 150 turkeys already accounted for. This total is 50 percent larger than last year’s 100 turkeys.
Ann Leighton of the St. Michael & All Angels Episcopal Church Food pantry was working alongside Salvation Army volunteers, and members of the Rotary Club of Kauai at the distribution.
Lenthall noted that The Salvation Army Lihu’e Corps building on Hardy Street served as the Lihu’e area center, with the St. Michael clients also picking up their turkeys there.
Bill Harper, one of the Rotarians who has been volunteering on turkey-distribution day for at least the past three years, noted that this year, the Rotary Club of Kauai members’ donations allowed the purchase of all the turkeys that were being distributed.
Harper, who showed off laminated copies of The Garden Island articles and photos from the previous two years, showing Rotarian involvement, joked, “This is my last shirt. Last year was the aloha shirt, the year before it was the blue shirt, and this year, this is the red shirt. It’s the last one,” he noted.
Ron Fleet of Vision Properties was another community member who made a trip to Safeway Stores, where they purchased birds for contribution to The Salvation Army for the Thanksgiving distribution.
In addition to the turkeys, the clients, many of whom were elderly, also received vouchers for their holiday packages.
Lenthall said that they’ll probably buy chicken for that distribution.
At 12 pounds per bird, this year’s distribution totaled 8,352 pounds just for turkeys, Lenthall noted, alluding to the fact that the Kauai Food Bank holiday food drive, which continues through Friday, Dec. 16, has a goal of 20,000 pounds of food and $20,000.
“At the food bank, we have a saying for days like this,” Lenthall said. “And, we look at each other and say, ‘This is a good day!'”
- Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, may be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or email@example.com