Shopping-spree winner shares with food bank

LIHU’E — Allen Kapali didn’t want to unfold his slip of paper Saturday.

It would show that he either won a Big Save gift certificate, or was the grand-prize winner of a $500, five-minute shopping spree at the Lihu’e Big Save Saturday morning.

“They make their own destiny,” said Karen Taketa, Contractors Association of Kaua’i (CAK) executive director and coordinator of the recent CAK Home Show.

Three of the winners from the entries turned in over the two-day expo arrived at the Lihu’e Big Save to see who would end up with the $500, five-minute shopping spree grand prize.

Those finalists were selected through a random drawing by CAK officials following the Home Show.

“We talked about it last night,” one of William Kalauawa’s family members said as they surveyed the layout of the store and discussed strategy in hushed tones.

Kalauawa was one of the three winners, the other two being Rosita Semana and Kapali.

Three slips of paper designating their prizes were placed in a basket by Greg Mira, CAK president, and with Gary Furugen and Mary Figaroa of Big Save watching, three hands went in to draw the slips.

Kalauawa slowly unfolded the paper. $100 gift certificate. Family members exhaled their disappointment.

Semana unfolded her paper to reveal another certificate, and Kapali dropped his paper in surprise after it revealed that he would have five minutes to shop for up to $500 in Big Save merchandise.

No shopping cart could be used, and the choices would have to be brought to the checkout stand for tallying, Mira explained.

“I’m going to give part of this to the Kauai Food Bank,” Kapali declared prior to starting, his mind racing as he scanned the store layout in anticipation.

As the signal was given, Kapali made a beeline for the frozen cases, sliding just a bit past the shrimp.

His arms dug deep, and came up with a load of packages that overflowed back into the case. That load was followed by a load of fish, and where’s the chicken? Oh, it’s next to the fish.

Now, for the food bank stuff. “What do they need?” he queried aloud.

“Get the Spam!” was the cheer from the audience. “Get the Spam!”

Spam it was. Do they want low-sodium? Kapali fiddled with the rectangular cans, some sprawling in the aisles. What’s next?

More canned goods: chili, corned beef, what else? Time ticked away. Kapali’s breath was labored, but he got second wind as he discovered that his shirt could carry more canned goods than his hands could.

A case of macaroni and cheese, more canned goods. What does the food bank need?

With each trip to the register, Mira called out the remaining time. More shirtloads of goods came flying to the checkout stand.

“Get the meat!” the audience members cheered. Kapali beelined to the meat case, and returned with an armload of assorted wrapped cuts that he scooped together.

Winded, Kapali slumped over the turnstile, “I not that young any more.”

“One more minute,” Mira said, rejuvenating the Kaua’i Fire Department fireman from the Waimea fire station.

Cookies, that’s the closest. “Get the meat!” the audience members cheered again.

But, it was done.

$504.16 was the total on the register. Too much.

Take away the chili, one box of macaroni and cheese, and the total ended at $499.78. Just right.

-flowed one shopping cart into a second one, and as the doors reopened to shoppers who watched through the sliding doors, Kapali joked on his way out that the food would be going towards his retirement party.

“Now, where’s the food bank? Are they open on Saturday?” he wanted to know.

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