Thanksgiving luncheon feeds 500 in Kapaa

KAPAA — One man wanted us to pray with him, said Debbie Thompson Thursday at the Kapaa Interfaith Association Thanksgiving Day Worship and Lunch.

“It’s not so much the food,” said Thompson, a home delivery volunteer. “They just want some companionship. We always allow a little extra time to talk with them.”

Thompson was one of a corps of home delivery volunteers who brought the spirit of Thanksgiving to people at their homes.

“When we knock on their doors and they see us, they smile,” Thompson said. “That is such a rewarding feeling.”

Thompson said this was her second year volunteering at the Interfaith Association’s Thanksgiving event.

“Our kids are all in college, and we have the time,” Thompson said. “When we heard they needed volunteers, we came out. I think we just started a new family tradition.”

The home deliveries were just a part of the event which included an interfaith worship service at the All Saints’ Episcopal Church and led by ministers from All Saints’ Episcopal Church and Preschool, the Kapaa First Hawaiian Church, the Kapaa Hongwanji Temple, the Kapaa Seventh Day Adventist, the Kapaa United Church of Christ and St. Catherine of Alexandria Parish.

“This is so good to have the lay people come together and work together,” said Rev. Ryan Newman of the All Saints’ church. “The framework for this service is taken from a style of worship handed down generation to generation in the Episcopal tradition. It is a chance for us to gather and reflect on our many blessings, especially those that unite us in peace.”

Following the service, showers only damped the more than 500 people who lined up outside the All Saints’ Gym for Thanksgiving lunch prepared by Mark Oyama and his crew from Mark’s Place and Contemporary Flavors Catering.

Meal service was done by the youth groups from the Kapaa Interfaith Association with entertainment also being provided by the member churches with performances by Mason Tabura, the Kapaa Neighborhood Center Ukulele Group, and the Kapaa Seventh Day Adventist Youth Choir who brought out its unique bell choir.

“This is just my second year coming,” a guest said. “I had so much fun last year, I had to come back. I’m on my second serving now.”

Oyama said his crew prepared enough food for 1,100 people, including the home deliveries.

“Last year, we served up 800 meals in the gym,” he said. “This year, the rain seems to keep people out. Last year, people could sit outside. After this, Mark’s Place is closed until Monday because I’m taking the crew to Honolulu to watch the final University of Hawaii football game. We’ll be having a tailgate party that Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. said he’s going to visit. That’s our Thanksgiving!”

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