Fundraising key for Special Olympians

LIHU’E — Amid the hustle and bustle of holiday shoppers, Jocelyn Barriga and Jennifer Arashiro of the Kaua’i Special Olympics program were kept busy with sales of their See’s Candies fund-raiser outside the Wal-Mart store.

“We start gift wrapping at Borders after this,” Arashiro said.

Barriga, the director for the Kaua’i Special Olympics, noted that they recently returned from the bowling competition on O’ahu, where the athletes had a lot of fun.

But that cost money, and the Special Olympics program’s success is dependent on fundraisers such as the candy sales taking place Friday.

As Barriga said, “The plane tickets alone cost $15,000.”

One week remains in their 2005 fundraising calendar, and this Sunday, the Special Olympics volunteers will be at Borders Books & Music doing gift-wrapping as their final appearance this year.

In 2006, the Special Olympics will be hosting the annual Troy Barboza Memorial Run and the Field Games on April 8 at Vidinha Stadium.

Finalists in this event advance to the state competition, also held on O’ahu, which requires yet more fundraising.

Barriga is grateful to Kaua’i people for always turning out to help with the Special Olympic fund-raisers that included the recent Cop on Top program in conjuction with Safeway.

Other events included a bowling tournament and a Coldstone Creamery event.

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