Coming together, giving thanks
KAPAA — Ihi‘ihinui Kaneali‘i of Anahola was on her way to lunch in Omao Thursday.
She made a point of stopping at the All Saints Episcopal Church and Preschool to take in the Kapaa Interfaith Association Thanksgiving service, and pick up deliveries of lunch for home-bound people.
“This is really good,” Kaneali‘i said. “To have so many different groups and people coming together to give thanks. They all come to share the joy, and you are filled with joy following the service. You can share that joy with others who can’t come by delivering the meals for the ones who can’t come. Sometimes, you find out they are all alone, and you don’t know that until you deliver.”
Kaneali‘i said she’s been attending the KIA annual Thanksgiving luncheon for at least five years, taking in the service and delivering meals to the home-bound.
“It’s so much fun,” she said, this year getting help from Sam Magagasiny, who wanted to help her. “You don’t know where you’re going, or who you’re going to see until you get here. This year, I have one in Kapaa, one in Lihue, and one in Puhi. You get to find places you would never see otherwise.”
A steady stream of people filled the All Saints gym, seated and being served by volunteer runners from the Contemporary Flavors serving line.
“You have to meet Steve Ross,” said Cathy Shibuya of the Contemporary Flavors crew. “He’s a pilot for Alaska Airlines and came to volunteer before he has to make his flight. He read about it, and said he wanted to help. Otherwise, he’d just be hanging out until it was time to go.”
Entertainment was provided by the youth from KIA churches, and enjoying the music, 93-year-old Sixto Tabay, a Medal of Honor recipient veteran, was thrilled to be reunited with his friends Yvonne and Ron Pinkerton of California.
“You see, even people from the mainland come to this,” Tabay said. “I got to know these people after the newspaper did a story about being the sole surviving member of Filipino soldiers who volunteered during World War II.”
Volunteer greeter Jim Jung of the Kapaa Hongwanji Mission presented paper tsuru, or origami cranes of peace, created from recycled paper.
“He’s dressed like a farmer today,” said Roberta Yanagawa of the Kapaa Hongwanji. “He used to be a pilgrim, but a farmer is less sectarian.”
Among those accepting the cranes was Rosiza Bergschicker, a visitor from Berlin, Germany.
“She was enjoying her meal and started to cry,” said Juliana Grigorova, who was helping the elderly German visitor. “She was so moved by all of these people coming together to give thanks, and the gestures of aloha just made her weep.”
Bergschicker, getting the help of Grigorova to interpret, said she was very touched by the effort and organization of the event.
“So many people from different cultures and churches, together, all in one place,” she said. “The most important thing is we all gather together.”
Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or email@example.com.