LIHUE — The turkeys were flying out of Times Supermarket to “tinkle-tinkle” sounds floating on the seasonably cold winds Friday night at Kukui Grove Center.
“Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, is the official launch of the Salvation Army red kettle drive,” said Salvation Army Maj. Mario Reyes, after the Salvation Army Troop performed a holiday dance medley.
Salvation Army Divisional Commander Maj. John Chamness said the red kettle is one of the organization’s long-standing traditions.
“We’ve been doing this for more than 125 years,” Chamness said. “Last year, the Salvation Army (in Hawaii) helped 125,000 people, and over Thanksgiving, from Hanapepe to the Big Island, more than 5,000 Thanksgiving meals were served to people.”
Chamness said proceeds from the red kettles also support soup kitchens, which serve hot meals weekly through the Lihue and Hanapepe corps, as well as the many other activities hosted by the Army on Kauai.
Sara Miura, a Salvation Army Kauai board member, was appreciative of a helper who stepped forward to volunteer.
“She was so sweet,” said Miura. “Pacita Hyde came out of the audience and offered to help ring the bell.”
Hyde, retired from Elsie Wilcox Elementary School, said she likes helping ring the bell; her favorite site is Wal-Mart.
“If all my retired friends come out, we have a lot in the kettles,” Hyde said, who offered to let children ring the bell for their contributions. “Tonight, if my friends were here, wow!”
In addition to showcasing some of the Salvation Army programs, including the troop hula halau and Marshallese programs, the Salvation Army honored Ryan Owan of the Kauai High School Leo Club, Alden Butac, vice president of the Kauai High School Key Club, and Patrick Bruno of the Kapaa High School Leo Club for their volunteer hours at red kettle stands and Salvation Army thrift stores.
Reyes said red kettle sites in Lihue include Times, Longs and Kmart at Kukui Grove Center, as well as Wal-Mart.
Kapaa sites include the new Longs Drugstore in Waipouli, Safeway in Kauai Village Shopping Center, Big Save in the Kapaa Shopping Center, and Cost-U-Less in Kapaa.
While there are red kettles sites on the South Shore and Westside, a significant area of the island is lacking.
“We would love to have red kettles in the North Shore area as well,” Reyes said. “But in order to do that, we need to find reliable people to coordinate the different stands.”
Volunteers are also needed to ring the bells at the existing stands, and people or groups interested in helping can contact Reyes at 245-2571, or Lt. Austin Anderson of the Hanapepe Corps at 335-5441.