Kokua Soup Kitchen needs help to help others

LIHU‘E — Kurt Bosshard waited until the excitement settled at The Salvation Army.

Thursday is the Lihu‘e Corps’ Kokua Soup Kitchens hot lunch program and the certified kitchen buzzed with activity as volunteers fed the big group gathered for lunch.

As the satisfied diners left, the volunteers finished cleaning the certified kitchen, Bosshard, representing himself and Arlene Bosshard and Kapa‘a Solar, presented Major Mario Reyes, the new Lihu‘e Salvation Army Corps Officer replacing Envoys Larry and Joy Groenleer, and Lt. Sarah Smuda of the Hanapepe Salvation Army with a contribution of $5,000 to help sustain both the Hanapepe and Lihu‘e Corps’ Kokua Soup Kitchen program through the summer months.

The Kokua Soup Kitchens are in great need of community support to help keep its free meals available to Kaua‘i families, senior citizens and individuals in need, states a Salvation Army release.

“The Salvation Army experiences some of its highest Kokua Kitchen and food pantry demand during the summer months when families with children who normally receive school lunches are out of school,” Smuda said. “At the Hanapepe Corps, we have seen the average number of people being served rise from about 50 to more than a hundred on each serving (three times a week). Our biggest day had more than 150 people being served.”

Smuda said this puts a strain on the kitchen staff who try to anticipate the demand, but on several occasions, had to roll up sleeves and make do to be able to satisfy the line of people needing a meal.

Kathy Beer of The Salvation Army Advisory Board said this demonstrates the strong need and The Salvation Army is initiating a new program in an effort to make both Kokua Kitchens sustainable, despite the economy and the increased demand for Kokua Kitchen services.

Sponsor a Kokua Soup Kitchen Day suggests a contribution of $150 for each sponsored day which will provide up to 100 hot, healthy meals to those in need.

Sponsor donations are tax deductible and sponsors will be recognized by the Kokua Kitchens during the annual Volunteer Mahalo Luncheon.

Bosshard’s contribution marked a strong start to the Sponsor a Kokua Soup Kitchen Day, Beer said. This program is reaching out to small and large businesses, service organizations, church groups, families and individuals with a desire to financially help The Salvation Army Kokua Soup Kitchen program on the island.

Beer said The Salvation Army would like to extend its sincere appreciation and mahalo to all of the businesses, groups and individuals who have been supporting the Kokua Soup Kitchen programs throughout the years.

Some of these include Russ Talvi of 22 North restaurant, Hukilau Lanai, Pam Chock and her ‘ohana of Kaua‘i Fruit and Flower Co., the Lihu‘e Lutheran Church and the many members of the American Culinary Federation, all of whom prepare and donate one meal a month to the Lihu‘e Kokua Kitchen.

Beer said this is the type of support which enables The Salvation Army to be able to serve the hundreds of meals each month to those who need the help.

Despite the many who were served, there were several late arrivals who peeked into the kitchen, seeking some “Mobile Munchies” which had already been distributed.

But as she’s done before, Smuda rolled up her sleeves and poked through the refrigerator.

For more information, or to Sponsor a Kokua Soup Kitchen Day, call Reyes at 245-2571, or Smuda at 335-5441.

• Dennis Fujimoto can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or dfujimoto@ thegardenisland.com.

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