LIHUE — As Kauai residents flock to grocery stores for those essential Thanksgiving meal ingredients and prepare to gather during one of the busiest travel days of the year, several community organizations are making plans of their own.
“Thanksgiving is not always just about being thankful for what we have but what we can give, too,” said Mary Margaret Smith, who is helping to plan this year’s annual Kapaa Interfaith Association community lunch at All Saints’ Episcopal Church in Kapaa.
It is one of several Thanksgiving events on Kauai that will offer up free meals on Thursday and some fellowship to go along with it.
The Kapaa Interfaith Association community lunch, which initially began in 2003, will be catered by Contemporary Flavors Chef Mark Oyama and held this year from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the church, 4-1065 Kuhio Highway.
A service to accompany the lunch, Smith said, will be held at 10 a.m. and feature ministers from five of the seven churches that make up the association, including Kapaa Jodo Mission, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (First Ward), Kapaa Hongwanji Buddhist Temple, Kapaa United Church of Christ, St. Catherine Church, All Saints’ Episcopal Church and Kapaa Seventh-day Adventist Church.
“I think it’s just to be thankful for our community and be thankful for each other — of what we have and what we share,” Smith said. “In this life, we can’t do it without each other — we can’t do it without taking care of each other and rejoicing in each other. I think that’s one of the things to come away with, when you go and see all of the people who are coming together to share a meal: how special that is and how thankful we are for the community and the community of Kauai and how we do care for each other. It’s a time when we have to think about that.”
Volunteers from all seven churches, she added, will also deliver Thanksgiving meals to Meals on Wheels recipients from Lihue to Anahola who cannot attend the event.
Other activities will be going on for the holiday — some even before.
On Wednesday, the Salvation Army will host a free Thanksgiving Luncheon at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday at Kauai Memorial Convention Hall in Lihue and at Salvation Army Hanapepe, 4465 Puolo Road. Both events should go into the early afternoon.
On the North Shore, Kauai Mini Golf General Manager Crystal Bilyeu said she and other employees are preparing their own free Thanksgiving meal service as a special thanks to the community.
The four-year-old event, she said, is an extension of giving back to the community by Kilauea resident Bill and Joan Porter, who fully subsidized the construction of Kauai Mini Golf and preservation of Ainahou Community Park.
“As inspired by Bill and Joan, it’s a way for all of us to give back to the community,” Bilyeu said.
Kauai Mini Golf will open on Thanksgiving Day for regular business from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Thanksgiving meals and free rounds of golf, Bilyeu said, will be served from 4 to 8 p.m.
But before the feast begins, Kauai Path and Work It Out Kauai will host the free, annual Old Kapaa Town Turkey Trot at Kapaa Beach Park, an informal 5K or 10K fun walk, run, or bike ride.
Check-in begins at 6:45 a.m. and the event starts at 7:30 a.m. Though the event is free, non-perishable food donations for Hale Ho’omalu, or monetary donations to Kauai Path, will be accepted at the race.
For those looking for a free dinner a little off the traditional turkey path, a Thanksgiving Dinner will be at 5:30 p.m. at The Bhakti Yoga Shack. The evening starts with an uplifting meditation circle to live music, and then share a homemade vegan potluck dinner for those who want to stop by. The shack is at 4420 Kuhio Highway in Anahola. Info: 551-6610.