Miss Jr. Teen Kalaheo donates 132 pounds of food

NAWILIWILI — Carol Beardmore, Kauai Independent Food Bank’s managing director, was moved to tears when she heard Isabel Gampon talk about her food drive.

“Not every kid gets to go home to food,” said Gampon, the reigning Miss Jr. Teen Kalaheo. “It’s so sad to know that, because all children should have food at home.”

Gampon recently conducted a food drive with a goal of collecting at least 100 pounds of food for KIFB as part of her service project.

“She exceeded that goal, and even brought in two turkeys,” said Leona Perez, KIFB programs coordinator. “Her total collection came in at 132 pounds.”

The teen really wanted to help the food bank so families, especially children, would receive the items in time for the holiday, said Ray Gampon, her mother.

Gampon is no stranger to the food needs of children after watching her older brother Kawai do a food drive to help the Salvation Army’s Kokua Soup Kitchen, a feat which earned him gubernatorial accolades.

“Our family is very involved in community service,” said her aunt, Yuki Sasson, who brought the young woman to the food bank Wednesday to drop off the goods. “When Grandpa Jose Marquez, a longtime Salvation Army Red Kettle bell ringer, died, my cousin, CJ Jimenez, and myself took the bell and continued to ring it at the Red Kettles, continuing a legacy he started.”

Sasson said Gampon is also a Girl Scout, and once made 20 dresses which she donated to Nana’s House in Waimea for its clients.

Besides the food drive collection, Perez said when Gampon competes for the state Miss Jr. Teen crown on Dec. 7 on Oahu, the KIFB will receive a portion of funds earned by Gampon.

She is the only representative from Kauai to the Miss Jr. Teen pageant, and her mother is asking people to “like” her photo to help her earn the Miss Photogenic title. To vote, visit Susan Page Modeling on Facebook and scroll down to Isabel’s photo. Voting ends Tuesday.

Gampon, an eighth-grade student at Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School as well as a student at the Aloha Dance Studio with Tiffany Dodge, said her title was earned after she answered an open call by Susan Page Modeling.

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