KOLOA — Tina Brun, head of the St. Raphael’s Church food pantry program and a co-chair of the St. Raphael’s 175th anniversary celebration committee, said they will be feeding the homeless and needy Saturday at the Salt Pond Park.
“This is part of our outreach program,” Brun said. “However, because it is the church’s 175th anniversary, we’re doing more — we’re feeding them, as well. During the Saturday outreach program, we’ll have our annual Thanksgiving Outreach where, in addition to the food, we’ll have packages of nonperishable food, toiletries, sheets, towels, and linen. We’re also catering lunch for the homeless and needy families at the Salt Pond Park main pavilion.”
The oldest Catholic church on Kauai has been doing the outreach on Kauai’s Westside for more than 30 years, serving between 250 to 300 people at each of its outings to Hanapepe and Waimea. The outreach program started when Brun took over the pantry program 13 years ago.
Ben Tapucol and his three children have been volunteering at these events for at least five years.
“When I first went out, I was shocked,” Tapucol said. “It’s hard to imagine there are people who live like they do because we have so much. I bring my children to help, and it impresses on them to be grateful for what they have.”
He said his son, on one holiday outreach, brought some of his excess kendama collection and distributed it to kids his own age that came.
“The experience stayed with him,” Tapucol said. “He told me, ‘They were so happy with everything I gave them.’ It’s hard for people to realize that we could be like that.”
Brun said the people they serve don’t ask for much.
“We asked them what they would like to have — turkey, ham, the usual holiday food,” Brun said. “And surprisingly, they said they preferred simple food like chicken or noodles.”
Following the Saturday outreach, Brun said the church sets its sights on preparing for the carnival on Dec. 3.
The carnival is designed for a day of family fun with food booths, fun games, water slides, keiki rides and games, a craft fair, silent auction, and entertainment, said Brenda Sameshima, 175th anniversary chairperson.
“We just need everyone’s prayers for clear weather,” Sameshima said. “The last carnival, it was pouring. Just pray for good weather.”
Sameshima said a new facet to the carnival is a rummage sale.
“This was a suggestion from Jessie Miyazaki, Shelley Gerardo’s mother,” Sameshima said. “We are accepting donations of clothing, household items, baby items, small appliances, dishes, kitchen implements, and more up until Nov. 30. Proceeds from the rummage sale will support the St. Raphael’s Youth Group.”
Contributions may be dropped off at the St. Raphael’s office, or drop box.
“It’s hard to imagine that we have come this far,” Sameshima said.