Birthday gifts go to food bank

For Raymond Tanner, 10, a student at Island School, the decision to give to Kauai Food Bank officials some of the money he received as birthday presents recently was simple logic.

“Because there’s a lot of hungry people in the world, you know, and even on Kaua‘i, too,” Tanner felt the need to give, he said.

The simple donation of $30 had a profound impact on Judith “Judy” Lenthall, Kauai Food Bank executive director, she said.

“If someone trusts you with their birthday money, you’d better manage it wisely,” she said.

So, whether it’s Larry Bowman of the Bowman Family Foundation and Falko Partners LLC in Kapa‘a pledging to match Kauaians’ donations dollar for dollar up to $10,000 during the ongoing spring healthy food and fund drive, or Tanner, the Island School fifth-grader, delivering some of his birthday gifts, the responsibility to use the donations wisely is not lost on Lenthall, she added.

Before Tanner’s 10th birthday party a few weeks ago, he thought of all the hungry people on Kaua‘i, and decided to do something to help.

In lieu of birthday gifts, he asked his family members and friends to make donations to the Kauai Food bank on his behalf.

He beamed as he delivered his $30 donation to the Kauai Food Bank Nawiliwili warehouse, Lenthall said.

“This gift really touched my heart. It’s obvious and understood that we must account for every single penny of government and private grants,” she said.

“But to responsibly manage the gift of a generous birthday boy is a moral imperative that guides our decisions and actions every day,” continued Lenthall.

“Every gift to the food bank is precious to the giver, and Raymond’s gift just reinforced the fact that at the food bank we take our fiduciary responsibilities very seriously,” she added.

Tanner’s gift was one of the first donations in this year’s spring food drive, on now through April 30.

Tanner’s donation counts towards the $10,000 challenge grant made by Bowman, she explained in a press release.

This week, KONG Radio Group personalities Ron Wiley and Mark Valentin have been duking it out, verbally, to try to raise more funds and food for the spring drive.

Lenthall related that Wiley was bemoaning the fact that he didn’t have any food in the studio earlier this week, during the early part of the challenge that ends today.

So fatigued of hearing Wiley’s groanings was Paul Douglass of Lihu‘e, a Kauai Food Bank board member, that he went to Big Save, bought a 20-pound bag of rice, and delivered it to Wiley, Lenthall said.

So many times did Wiley drop the bag on the studio floor, so listeners could hear the thump the rice made when hitting the floor, that the last time he did it the bag broke open, spilling rice all over the studio floor, Lenthall said.

Also during that radio-personality-challenge, Shawn Smith of Falko Partners came into the studio and offered Valentin and Wiley $5,000 each, to publicize the $10,000-challenge grant.

Brown-paper bags for food donations, and postage-paid envelopes for check donations, were included in the March 1 issues of The Garden Island and Island Shopper. More bags and envelopes are available at The Garden Island front desk weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Donations may be dropped off at any county fire station, or the food bank’s Nawiliwili warehouse.

The goal is to raise $20,000 and collect 20,000 pounds of food. For every $1 cash donation, food-bank leaders through cooperative-food-purchase agreements are able to buy $16 worth of food, which is distributed daily to hungry Kauaians through a network of church leaders and volunteers, and many others.

As of March 2, a total of $365 (or a total of $730 with the Bowman Challenge Grant) and 50 pounds had been collected for the spring food drive.

Call 246-3809 for more information.

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