LIHUE — Angela Pohiva Tafea was grateful for Saturday’s Back to School Bash, at which 1,000 bags of school supplies were distributed to school-aged youth who were accompanied by their parents at Kukui Grove Center.
“I have three students at the high school, and this really helps,” Pohiva Tafea said. “My youngest one is still in the middle school so having a program like this definitely helps us.”
The event was sponsored by nearly 20 community- minded sponsors, including Kauai’s credit unions spearheaded by the Kauai Community Federal Credit Union. The Kukui Grove staff, including intern Haley Lord, was inundated by families seeking out the free school supplies.
“You know my middle name is ‘F-R-E-E,’” said Lynn Ramos who had three of her children in tow. “My kids are happy to get these items.”
Kauai Complex Area Superintendent William Arakaki said there are about 9,000 students registered in Kauai’s schools from kindergarten through 12th grade, and having this kind of help for at least 1,000 students is phenomenal.
Parent Community Network Coordinator Judy Cano from the District of Education office said leftover supplies will be moved to the PCNC sites where teachers will be able to draw from them for their respective classrooms.
“This is absolutely amazing,” Cano said. “There were people in line from 6:15 this morning for the 9:30 a.m. registration. The supplies were distributed starting at 1 p.m. when the Greenstone Project played.”
A school resource fair offered information on a wide variety of subjects. Students return to school starting July 29.
“This really helps,” said Annalynn Antibas, who has students at King Kaumualii Elementary School and Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School. “I still have some shopping to do, but what they had in the bags covers about half of what they need when school starts. Having a program like this really helps a lot and it’s wonderful that we have one on Kauai. This way, at least the kids will have the basic needs covered when school starts.”