LIHU’E — The crisp morning air might have been quiet as it vainly fought against the warming rays of the morning sun.
Not so the case with volunteers with and leaders of The Salvation Army, who were busy as the foodcourt area of Kukui Grove Center bustled with activity.
About 100 guests enjoyed an early-morning interlude with Santa courtesy of those with The Salvation Army and buffeted by contributions from owners and operators of businesses and from other organizations.
J Robertson, a member of The Salvation Army board of directors and the host for the annual Breakfast with Santa morning meal fundraiser, noted that contributions came from the members of the community, with many of the Kukui Grove Center merchants providing the main portions of the meal.
Robertson, along with other Salvation Army board members and the leaders from both the Lihu’e and Hanapepe Corps, joined together to help feed the children and members of their families who attended the event.
Keiki activities and storytelling from Mark Jeffers and Russell the Rooster kept the children entertained, with Santa joining in to provide a song, as he accompanied himself on an ‘ukulele.
With the dust barely settled on breakfast, The Salvation Army officials and volunteers lost little time launching the Kaua’i segment of the statewide Lokahi Giving Project, as Robertson turned over the microphone to Kaua’i-born Ron Mizutani, now a newsman on KHON channel 2.
“I don’t know where they all came from, but suddenly, there are presents appearing,” Robertson noted, as shoppers, bags brimming with new toys, clothes, and other goods, stopped by to greet Mizutani, and offer their contributions to the celebrity, who was earlier in the week on hand for the dedication of the Qi Center in Lihu’e.
In the background, the uniquely holiday sound of violin and keyboard lent its atmosphere to the event, as members of “EH,” or Ethereal Harmony, began their tuning process, strains of “Silent Night” drawing applause from the audience.
Directed by Helen Sina, members include Maica Jacalne, Daniel Sagadraca, Alexis Jacalne and Zylo Jacalne.
The newly-formed group offers a positive learning and growing experience for young classical musicians, while Sena encourages musical excellence.
Classical and multicultural performance opportunities are being offered to the young musicians.
Other members offering their entertainment for the event included the Ladies of Lei Mokihana Na Kupuna O Kaua’i, Limited Edition, and Robert Ramson and Luna De Fuego.
The Lokahi Giving Project is a unique partnership between KHON2 television station leaders and officials with The Salvation Army.
The project is designed to allow volunteers and others to lend a helping hand to those who face a life crisis, or emergency situation beyond their control, and not just assisting the poor, but also the struggling gap-group members who do not qualify for assistance in other programs.
Leslie Wilcox and Mariellen Jones were instrumental in establishing the Lokahi Giving Project in 1985 and, since then, those affiliated with the Lokahi Giving Project have given a “hand up,” not a hand out, to hundreds of thousands of children, elderly, and underprivileged men and women during difficult times.
Today, donated toys and other gifts go to representatives of more than 125 nonprofit, social-service agencies, shelters, group homes, and hospitals, for distribution to deserving individuals and members of families.
Additionally, The Salvation Army volunteers continue to maintain their red-kettle vigils at locations islandwide, and the Angel Tree is available for people to help make the holidays brighter at both the WalMart store and Kmart.
For more information on any of these programs, or to volunteer to help any of these holiday-brightening projects, people may contact The Salvation Army at 245-2571, or 335-4441.
- Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, may be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or firstname.lastname@example.org