Lucille Calderon, the Kaua‘i administrator for the Child & Family Service, said they would never have been able to get a van without the help of the Rotarians.
Calderon was on hand Thursday to accept the keys to a Dodge van from Rotary Club of Kapa‘a president Ken Stokes and several other representatives from the club.
“We just want people to know that this van is just part of the people’s Taste of Hawai‘i funds at work,” Stokes said.
Mardi Maione, a certified substance abuse counselor with CFS and also a member of the Rotary Club of Kapa‘a, said everything was a collaborative effort between the club and King Auto Center.
“I only had so much to spend and CFS really needed the van,” Maione said. “When I came in, Ron Valencia didn’t even have to think about it, he said, ‘Just take the van.’”
Calderon said the van will be put to good use at one of their project sites.
“We’ll be using it to do errands, shuttle families to and from different events. It’s going to make such a big difference for the people there,” Calderon said. “We could never have amassed the kind of money it takes to get a van and the insurance.”
Stokes said the van project was possible due to the strong response by the community to last year’s Taste of Hawai‘i.
“We had more funds generated than the year before and the van project is the largest amount of all the projects the Taste of Hawai‘i proceeds supports,” Stokes said.
To date, the Rotary Club of Kapa‘a has allocated more than $29,000 for projects in the Education and Families categories.
Among those projects, Stokes said the club recently presented the Rotary Club of Hanalei $4,000 for the Growing Teachers program spearheaded by Dr. Kani Blackwell.
Stokes said Blackwell has already committed her education candidates to volunteer at this year’s Taste of Hawai‘i that will take place in early June at the Smith’s Tropical Paradise.
Some of the other project that get funding from the Taste of Hawai‘i include the Meals on Wheels, the Foster Parents, Friendship House, Mokihana Aquatics, the Dictionary Project, Leadership Kaua‘i and more.
This year’s event will take place on June 3. For more information, visit their Web site at www.tasteofhawaii.com.