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Kamehameha Day lunch helps Falcons soccer program fly

KEKAHA — While some people celebrated Kamehameha Day with a holiday, the crew at Syngenta Seeds in Kekaha fired up the grills to help soccer players as part of its workday.

Coming on the heels of its successful fundraiser for the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, the Syngenta chefs exchanged their agricultural garb for culinary gear yesterday to raise money for the Westside Falcons soccer program.

Cynthia Owen, a Syngenta worker, collected the donations for the lunch of teriyaki chicken, mac salad, rice and a helping of cake created by Shirley Sam Fong.

Owen’s daughter Caitlyn plays on one of the Westside Falcon teams. She said yesterday’s lunch will help the Westside Falcons get to O‘ahu where four of the program’s five teams will be participating in the Hawai‘i International Cup during the Fourth of July weekend.

“We have a lot of associates who have children who play in soccer programs and other community events, so we thought this was a good way to support our associates when the soccer players came to ask for help,” said Laurie Goodwin, Syngenta community outreach specialist. “At $10 a lunch, this should make a good dent toward getting them to the tournament.”

Robert Gandia, one of the Syngenta employees who donned the moniker of “Chef Bitos” for the day, said they were prepared for about 100 plates for this event.

“The word has been getting around,” Gandia said while manning the grills alongside Syngenta employee Arthur Brun. “It’s not just the Syngenta employees anymore. When people find out about the lunches, they send someone down to pick up for their own companies.”

Jane Garma, one of the team mothers for the Westside Falcon soccer program and Syngenta staff, said whatever is generated at the lunch would be matched by her employer.

The Westside Falcons, started four years ago, has also been a community player, working with the American Cancer Society.

During the 2008 season, the Westside Falcon 9 team relegated its counterpart Westside Falcon 10 to second place with a 1-0 edge in the Under 10 division. Garma said the Westside Falcon 12 team also won its division.

While participating in the President’s Day Cup on O‘ahu earlier in the year, Garma said the 9s and 12s both won their divisions and the 10s finished with silver medals.

For the upcoming tournament, Garma said the Westside Falcons will have its 8, 9, 10 and 12 teams participating.

“It’s just amazing,” she said. “We started with just one team of 11 players five years ago, and now we have a growing number of players in five teams.”

Garma said the goal of the Westside Falcon program is simply to develop soccer on the Westside.

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