Wednesday, May 18, 2022 |
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LIHU‘E — When a child is in need, every day is a rainy day.
“We’ve done rain days before,” said Russell Haluapo, leader of the annual Toys for Keiki run, Sunday, at the Historic County Building in Lihu‘e. “The kids still need stuff, rain or shine.”
More than a hundred motorcycle enthusiasts and several cars, one of which carried the supply of new toys, turned out for the ride, traveling north to Kilauea in a run shortened by the inclement weather.
“Originally, we were going out to Hanalei, but with this weather, we’ll just cut it short to Kilauea,” Haluapo said.
Santa Claus, leading the ride for more than 20 years, said if the sun was shining there would have been at least three times the amount.
Santa had just returned from a cross-country motorcycle tour on the Mainland and through the courtesy of Kaua‘i Harley-Davidson, had a ride to lead the convoy as he’s done for the annual event.
Dai Aranda, who with Laura McPeek, was coordinating the distribution of the new toys collected, said there are about 200 keiki from Hanalei and Kilauea schools who need something for Christmas.
“Every year, the schools are really good about having lists of which kids need help,” Aranda said. “This year, we’re just concentrating on these two schools.”
Rider support, including coffee and some light refreshments, were offered through the Kaua‘i Harley-Davidson, the warm coffee going well with the candy canes being passed out by Santa as rain drops frolicked between dark clouds and whipped up by the cold winds blowing in from the northeast.
As the convoy rumbled to life, cars paused to let the growling metal steeds out of the Historic County Building, several honking in support as the leather-clad riders took on the elements so keiki would have a brighter holidays.
• Dennis Fujimoto, photographer and staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or dfujimoto@ thegardenisland.com.
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