$130,000 makeover for soup kitchen

HANAPEPE — Arnold Bueno of Bueno Construction said they are still waiting for work to start at the Philippines Culture Center, so when they were asked to subcontract the work at the Kokua Soup Kitchen at the Hanapepe Salvation Army, they agreed.

“He’s a good friend of ours, anyway,” Bueno said. “But we forgot the chipping gun in Lihue so we have to go with muscle power. It’s too far to go back to Lihue again.”

The $130,000 remodeling and expansion project started Thursday under the supervision of Sweat Construction, the Kapaa-based general contractor.

The project is getting financial help from the Antone & Edene Vidinha Charitable Trust, the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, and other community members.

“They were here bright and early at 8 a.m.,” said Lt. James Combs, Salvation Army, Hanapepe Corps commander. “They already took out a wall, and right now, are working on demolishing the existing flooring.”

Plans for the renovation call for new appliances, including a convection oven, steam table, dishwasher, and icemaker.

Additionally, the cooking and pantry area will be expanded by 120 square feet, allowing for easier cooking and easier access for volunteer groups who assist in the Kokua Soup Kitchen program.

The larger pantry will allow the Salvation Army to accept and store more food donations.

Last year, the Kokua Soup Kitchen served more than 10,000 plates of food to community members.

Combs said that during the anticipated six-week construction project, the schedule for the Kokua Soup Kitchen will be dinners-only on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 5 to 6 p.m.

Upon completion of the renovations and expansion, the meal schedule will return to normal operations with dinner served on Mondays from 5 to 6 p.m. and lunches served on Wednesdays and Fridays from 11 a.m. to noon.

“Craig Hayashi, owner of the Salt Pond Country Store, is allowing us to use his commercial kitchen to prepare the food,” Combs said. “We are so appreciative of his offer to allow us to be able to feed those in need in our community during this construction period.”

Combs said the Kokua Soup Kitchen provides 500 meals each month to people in need.

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