Hundreds enjoy early Thanksgiving community luncheon

LIHUE — Dimples Kano cut the ceremonial turkey for the the Salvation Army 54th annual Community Thanksgiving Luncheon that fed hundreds on Wednesday.

It wasn’t the first time.

“She’s been serving on the Salvation Army board for 42 years,” said Lt. Elizabeth Gross. “She always brings the cranberries.”

Kano said it started when the Salvation Army was located up in the Fujii Camp area of Lihue.

“My mother and her sister did not go to the luncheons because they were Buddhists,” Kano said. “One year, the Salvation Army guy came over and invited them, personally. They went, and after seeing how much fun they had, I told myself, ‘One day, I’m going to give back.’”

Forty-two years later, Kano is still at the serving line after making sure there were sufficient cranberries to feed the hundreds of people who were served by members of the Kapaa High School Interact Club.

Gross said the luncheon is made possible through the contributions of community organizations, including the Kauai High School Key Club who decorated the hall, including placing the placemats created by students at the King Kaumuali‘i Elementary School.

A similar luncheon was held at the Hanapepe Corps.

“Every year, I tell them, ‘this is my last show,’” said Kauai composer and entertainer Larry Rivera, who provided the lunchtime dining music and show with his daughter Ilima Rivera and her daughters. “More than 30 years later, I’m still doing this with the help of Wes Montgomery and Richard Beach.”

Renee Hiranaka said she’s volunteered for the past several years because her boss is on the Salvation Army board. This year, she was joined by Leong Lim who dished out helpings of turkey.

“This is my first time,” Lim said. “I volunteered on my own. I just wanted to come and help and do something nice for the community.”

Maili Ornellas, reunited with her family after moving back from Oahu three weeks ago, said she was thankful for her family.

“I’m so thankful to be here,” Ornellas said. “I’m back with my family, again.”

She was the first to pin a thankful note onto the Thankful Tree, a new facet of the luncheon.

Alice Parker was in the company of Jacquelyn Winzer-Ramos and her son Clark Ramos of Oregon who came to help care for his mother, Jacquelyn.

“Jacquelyn is going to be 92 years old,” Parker said. “She just got out of the hospital after being the victim of a hit-and-run in Lihue. She was attempting to cross the street on the green light and this guy tried to make a right turn and crushed her foot. In the confusion, no one got the license number. Jacquelyn is just phenomenal.”

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