Kaua‘i may have world’s best-fed disaster-response workers

Judith “Judy” Lenthall, whose birthday celebration yesterday was put on hold while she tended to disaster-response workers across the island, remains in awe of the quality and quantity of food being donated to those workers, she said.

“We have some of the best chefs in the world, and when we put out the call, ‘can you help feed the disaster workers?’ we don’t just get chili and rice,” said Lenthall, executive director of the Kauai Food Bank.

On Thursday, chefs, owners and operators of restaurants, and others, donated things like guava chiffon pie, chocolate mousse, macadamia-nut tarts, cranberry torte, and other grinds that were very much appreciated by those with the Kaua‘i Police Department, county Department of Public Works, state Department of Transportation Highways Division, telephone and electric company, and other workers, she said.

“They’re amazing. Beautiful. Food too pretty to eat.” Almost, she said.

The love fest for those working to keep roads open, electricity on, and lines of communication open, continues, with “grab-and-run” centers open today from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Friendship Club in Kapa‘a, The Salvation Army headquarters in Hanapepe and Lihu‘e, Kalaheo Neighborhood Center, Church of the Pacific in Princeville, and Kilauea Neighborhood Center, and as long as disaster-response workers are working, she said.

As for Thursday night, “the food went very, very well.” None went to waste, none was thrown away, and any left over was stored appropriately, she said.

At least 100 people were able to sit down and enjoy the food, and many others enjoyed the “grab-and-run” offer.

Some of the emergency-response workers, after working 12-hour shifts, were greeted with box lunches, courtesy of Mark Oyama and members of his crew at Mark’s Place, she said.

“How cool is that?”

Early Friday morning, Civil Defense officials asked The Salvation Army leaders to take their mobile food trailer down to Koloa, and Capt. Mitham Clement of the Lihu‘e Corps of The Salvation Army responded, warm foods and cold drinks at the ready, she said.

Volunteers from the Kalaheo Missionary Church served up meals for those at the Kalaheo Neighborhood Center, said Lenthall, who added that she appreciates the continued support of members of the Kauai Food Bank board of directors.

“Even though it’s a disaster, we’re just doing our job,” she said, referring to the fact that Kauai Food Bank folks on a daily basis solicit food donations, pick it up, deliver it and account for it.

As soon as the disaster materialized, Lenthall contacted officials at America’s Second Harvest, who have provided support from afar, she added.

“America’s Second Harvest has just been great. We’re not doing this alone,” said Lenthall, who wanted to get this information in the newspaper so that those disaster-response workers who may not be aware of the feeding sites will take advantage of them.

This will be good experience for the volunteers in this Class I disaster, when a Class V disaster like a hurricane comes along, she said.

Establishment of the feeding sites is the result of a partnership between officials and volunteers with the Kauai Food Bank, The Salvation Army, American Red Cross, the Church of the Pacific, and Friendship Club.

Among those donating food are chefs, owners and operators of Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa, Kaua‘i Marriott Resort & Beach Club, Marriott’s Waiohai Beach Club, Wailua Marina Restaurant, Hilton Kauai Beach Resort, Mark’s Place, Keoki’s Paradise, Aloha Beach Resort-Kauai, Icing on the Cake, Wasabi’s, Scotty’s, Brennecke’s Beach Broiler, and Joe’s on the Green.

The Salvation Army Hanapepe and Lihu‘e Corps locations have certified kitchens, and are offering shelter as well as meals for those in need, Clement said.

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