Kapaia playground taking shape

KAPAIA n The fruits of years of labor are starting to appear on the grounds of the Lihu‘e Hongwanji Mission.

Volunteers converged on the grounds of the church Saturday to help pour the base for the Lihu‘e Hongwanji Preschool’s new playground equipment, scheduled to be installed over the next few weeks.

The background work started several years ago when the preschool’s board and staff began fundraising efforts to replace the aging playground equipment.

In the process, the group started a Kodomo No Hi, or cultural festival celebrating Children’s Day. The staff and volunteers — including parents of the preschool students — offered up baked goods and food and manned a variety of games modeled after the traditional Japanese celebration of Boy’s Day.

The money raised supplemented the school’s efforts at grant writing and other fundraising efforts.

However, due to the scope of work surrounding the playground installation, the event was not held this year.

Instead, volunteers armed with cement rakes and shovels, and garbed in rubber boots and work shoes, poured three loads of concrete in preparation for the new playground.

Earlier, volunteers worked to dismantle the school’s sheltered sandbox. Boy Scouts of America Troop 83 disassembled portions of the old swing set for transport to Koke‘e, where it will become part of the BSA camp.

More volunteers were summoned into action as the dirt from the grading needed to be hauled away.

Despite this massive effort, the preschool took time out to help the Muscular Dystrophy Association with their Annual Hop-a-thon, and recently presented Jennifer Li of the MDA of Hawai‘i a check for over $4,000.

“People had their own issues to deal with and the Hop-a-thon was not one of them,” Li said when she accepted the check from the children earlier this month. “We stopped here on a cold call. No appointment, but they said they would help us. This is great!”

After volunteers created a new base for the flagpole on Saturday, members of the church’s Senior YBA men rose early Sunday morning to prepare the annual pre-service Mother’s Day breakfast.

Governed by tradition, Janice Ringor and a group of women prepared food while the men worked throughout Saturday. On Sunday, the food supervision was headed up by Paul Yamaguchi, who whipped up a breakfast of eggs, sausage, fresh fruits and the traditional miso soup.

Members of the church’s Dharma School, or Sunday School, created little gifts presented to the mothers by Ricky Tokunaga and Legs Hamamoto as they entered the hall.

Additionally, the Dharma School students created Father’s Day gifts for the dads who accompanied their families to the breakfast and service.

“Father’s Day came a little early this year,” said Rev. Midori Kondo, the church’s resident minister. “Fathers don’t usually come out if we have a Father’s Day event, so we just present them their gifts a little early.”

Members of the East Kaua‘i Lions Club under the direction of Roy Tanaka, a member of the church, are on tap to be part of this coming Saturday’s workday.

The effort coincides with the Annual Visitor Industry Charity Walk, said Kelvin Moniz, the Lion’s Club current president.

• Dennis Fujimoto, photographer and staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) and dfujimoto@kauaipubco.com.

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