Friends help friends

NIUMALU — One service organization worked and another benefited under the Weinberg Friends program Saturday.

The Rotary Club of Kauai, under the leadership of president Tom Lodico, worked on a service project through the coordination of Tyler Chihara, the Rotary Club’s community service chair, with more than 30 of its members and other volunteers at the Malama Huleia worksite in Niumalu.

In return, the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation provided a $10,000 grant to the Kauai Independent Food Bank for its work in the community.

“This work at the Malama Huleia site has been a rewarding project,” Chihara said. “It’s been wonderful seeing the community come together to tackle the invasive mangrove.”

Among the volunteers was Rizaldy Tolentino, the KIFB warehouse supervisor, and Judy Arrigo, the KIFB treasurer, who toiled alongside Rotarians and their families in clearing the Niumalu waterway estuary of invasive mangrove.

“There’s no free ride,” said Tolentino, who had his family working. “We can help out because they are helping us.”

Jim Miller, who recently moved to Kauai from Colorado, was among the volunteers. He is contemplating joining the Rotary Club of Kauai.

“He’s already a member,” Chihara said. “He came to a couple of meetings, thought about it, and he’s here working. He’s already a member. He just didn’t have the secret ceremony. This is his induction.”

Dick Olsen, the Rotarian keeping tabs on volunteers to ensure the Friends requirements where met, said there were a lot of new Rotarians and their families working at the service project. Among those were Girogio De Paz who brought out his ohana, including daughter Malia who dove into the muck to extract mangrove seedlings.

“The Kauai Independent Food Bank extends its deepest appreciation and gratitude to the Rotary Club of Kauai for selecting KIFB as the recipient of its $10,000 Weinberg Friends Program grant award,” said Kelvin Moniz, the KIFB executive director. “Through the Boys & Girls Club, the Keiki Cafe school program will continue to help the countless poor and needy keiki on Kauai.”

Moniz said the funds will be used to purchase fresh and nutritious items for the keiki program, including items such as string cheese, fruit cups, Gogurt, and fresh fruits and snacks.

In 2014, KIFB provided more than 29,000 Super Snacks to keiki participating in the Boys & Girls Club after-school programs at the Boys & Girls Club Waimea, operating out of the Kekaha Neighborhood Center, and the Boys & Girls Club Lihue Clubhouse, which serves keiki from the Lihue Court Townhomes and the Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School.

Olsen said the Weinberg Friends Program is just one of the things being done by the Rotary Club of Kauai which, under the direction of Rotarian Addison Bulosan, recently started up an Interact Club at Kauai High School.

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