Mahelona residents help launch red kettles

WAIPOULI — The familiar sou’nd of bells was accompanied by the chorus of Christmas carols outside the Safeway store in Waipouli Tuesday.

“We’ve been doing bell ringing for three years,” said Josie Pablo, the recreation director for the Samuel Mahelona Memorial Hospital. “When the Salvation Army asked if we wanted to help launch the Red Kettle program, how could we say no?”

Pablo and the staff of Mahelona Hospital transported 11 of its folks to the Safeway store for the launch of the kettles.

“We want to especially thank Safeway Store for letting us be here,” said Helen Reyes, a Salvation Army cadet. “They not only support us in the Red Kettle program, they are a big sponsor of our annual Thanksgiving community luncheons.”

Reyes said the public is invited to the free Thanksgiving luncheons which will be served at 11 a.m. Wednesday at the Kauai War Memorial Convention Hall, and at the Salvation Army, Hanapepe Corps.

While the residents waited to be unloaded, shoppers jumped ahead of the bell-ringing, leaving bills atop the familiar red kettles.

“I just got through delivering the compost from the Food and Range Festival,” said Pat Gegen, a board member of the Hawaii Health Systems Corp., who stopped off for shopping at Safeway. “I never expected to see Scott McFarland, the new CEO, here doing the bells.”

Reyes said proceeds from the annual Red Kettle drive go toward the Salvation Army.

Interested volunteers can call the Salvation Army at 245-2571, or 335-5441.

• Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or dfujimoto@thegardenisland.com.

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