HANAPEPE — Lt. James Combs of the Salvation Army, Hanapepe Corps said feeding the seniors in April is a tradition that existed long before he got here.
“We do this to show appreciation for our seniors in the community,” he said. “We just continue the legacy.”
Kupuna descended on the Salvation Army, Hanapepe Corps Wednesday to enjoy lunch prepared by Salvation Army Kokua Kitchen crew led by Rose Silva and volunteers from the Hawaii State Teachers Association, the Waimea High School Interact Club and a class from the Waimea Canyon Middle School.
Shirley Medeiros of the Alu Like kupuna program said the meal was especially nice because it was Leonora Kelekoma’s birthday.
Basilio Fuertes and Naoko Ho of the Waimea Senior Center said Effie Nitta celebrated her 100th birthday last week.
“I walk to the post office every day,” Nitta said. “I have the house near the Shrimp Station and to walk to the post office is not far. Got sidewalk now so it’s easy. The food today was good. Especially because I never need cook.”
Fuertes said at next year’s Waimea Senior Center anniversary there will be at least four people who are 100 years old.
“It’s amazing,” Fuertes said. “You look at how (Nitta) walks. Upright and with good posture. And she has a good memory.”
Combs said the meal for the seniors coincided with the Hanapepe Corps’ Kokua Kitchen program, which opens its doors to anyone who is hungry.
“We have to do this now,” he said. “During the summer, we’re closing down the kitchen so we can expand the space, add new appliances, and do work so we can serve more people more efficiently.”
In addition to their meal, Alu Like joined the entertainment lineup, including the Kekaha Senior Centers and Ke Kula Ni‘ihau o Kekaha.
“They love us at the cruise ship,” Medeiros said. “The passengers’ first stop is Maui where all they see is warehouse. When they come to Kauai, they love us because we’re not just warehouse. Before we started greeting the ship, we had to figure out what to do on Thursdays. Now, we’re in demand. People are calling us.”