Groups give back to community

How do you tell 800 families there will be no turkey on the table for Thanksgiving?

Judy Lenthall, director of the Kaua‘i Food Bank, said that was almost the case this year, but thanks to the Rotary Club of Hanalei Bay and the Rotary Club of Kaua‘i, there were 800 turkeys available for hungry families during the Salvation Army’s annual Holiday Food Distribution on Friday.

“The grant we rely on to get the turkeys didn’t come through, and with the rapidly approaching holidays, we are truly appreciative to the rotary clubs to be able to get food to those who need it,” Lenthall said.

Lenthall also expressed appreciation to the Safeway stores who allowed them to get 800 turkeys for the price of the original 785 birds when the list of those needing turkeys unexpectedly grew.

She was helping members of the Rotary Club who turned out to help with the distribution at the Salvation Army’s Lihu‘e Corps on Hardy Street. A similar distribution was taking place at the Salvation Army Hanapepe Corps located near the Hanapepe Neighborhood Center.

The food distribution is just one facet of the Salvation Army’s effort to feed the hungry people of Kaua‘i.

During the week, the Army offers the Kokua Soup Kitchen program which offers free hot meals to hungry people at both of its locations.

Currently, the Hanapepe Corps offers hot dinners from 5 to 6 p.m. on Mondays  and lunches are served from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Wednesdays and Fridays.

At the Lihu‘e Corps, hot dinners are served from 5 to 6 p.m. on Tuesdays and a hot lunch is served from 11:30 a.m. through 12:30 p.m. on Thursdays.

Mary McFarland, the Kokua Soup Kitchen manager, said starting after Jan. 1, the Lihu‘e Corps is planning to add hot lunches on Saturdays.

The meals are made possible through community volunteers including commercial restaurants under the Adopt-a-Day program.

Richard and Carolyn Booth of the Aloha Kaua‘i Pizza in the Coconut Marketplace are one of those providers.

“We do lunch every other Wednesday,” Richard said. “Usually, we come in early, prepare the meal and the Salvation Army comes to pick it up for serving on Thursdays.”

Richard said when they started providing the ready-to-eat meals, the Kokua Soup Kitchen in Lihu‘e was serving between 50 to 70 meals per sitting.

But with the downturn in the economy and the rising unemployment rate, that figure has gone to more than 120 meals a sitting.

McFarland said the Hanapepe Corps serves up between 60 to 75 meals at each of its weekly dinners. That number is also an increase from its previous servings.

Joining the Aloha Kaua‘i Pizza as Adopt-a-Day vendors, Roberta Cable of the Hukilau Lanai and Gaylord’s at Kilohana also provide a meal a month from each restaurant as does the Lihu‘e Missionary Church Bible Study Class.

Members of the Lihu‘e Lutheran Church are just one group who volunteer to help at the Thursday Kokua Soup Kitchen at the Lihu‘e Corps.

In addition to providing the food, preparing, serving and cleaning following the meal, the Lihu‘e Lutheran Church members also prepare Mobile Munchies which diners take with them following the meal.

“This is just something that will hopefully help tide them over until the next meal,” said one of the LLC volunteers.

But the giving overflowed to the Holiday Food Distribution where the LLC provided 20 gift cards from Big Save at $25 each that recipient families could use to get more food for their families.

This gesture was made possible through the members of the Lihu‘e Lutheran Church and matching funds from the Hawai‘i Chapter of Thrivent Financial for Lutherans.

Accompanying the turkey and gift card, Holiday Food Distribution recipients also received a supply of canned goods to help them and their families.

One of the Rotary volunteers said another distribution will be done before Christmas.

According to a press release from the Salvation Army, it is also thankful to all those in the community who help the Kokua Soup Kitchens with their donations of time and money.

In celebration of this thankfulness, both the Lihu‘e and Hanapepe Corps of the Salvation Army will be celebrating all they are thankful for on Wednesday.

The Lihu‘e Corps will be serving lunch from 10 a.m. to noon at the Kaua‘i War Memorial Convention Hall, and the Hanapepe Corps will be serving lunch for Westsiders at its Hanapepe Corps social hall.

Lunch is free and open to anyone who would like to enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving lunch of turkey with all the fixings including mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, cranberry sauce, vegetables, rolls and pumpkin squares.

Entertainment at the Lihu‘e lunch will be provided by Larry Rivera, the Senior Ukulele Group from the Lihu‘e Senior Center and Linda Tani & Company. Seniors from the Kekaha, Waimea, Kaumakani, Hanapepe, Kalaheo and Koloa senior centers will headline the entertainment in Hanapepe.

“We are so blessed to have the many generous donations from the community each year so that we can join together with family and friends to give thanks,” said Capt. Mitham Clement of the Lihu‘e Corps.

Following the day of Thanksgiving, fellowship and appreciation, the Salvation Army launches its annual Red Kettle Drive on Friday, which runs through Dec. 24.

For more information, call Clement at 245-2571, or Capt. Larry Groenleer at 335-5441.

The Salvation Army and the Kaua‘i United Way are partners in keeping Kaua‘i first.

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