Bringing Christmas joy to Westside keiki

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    John Copeland and crew get ready to roll out to the Westside from the Kauai Harley-Davidson lot in Puhi Saturday.

PUHI — John Copeland, president of the Koa Puna motorcycle club, was among the 200 motorcycle riders earlier this month who generated more than 200 toys for the Friends of the Children’s Justice Center.

But what about those children from Kauai’s Westside, many of whom are from needy families, including those who are houseless, under-employed and suffering, he wondered.

“What about those keiki?” Copeland said. “Many come from the Hawaiian Homes neighborhood, and there are many who live on the beaches. Last year, Kauai Harley-Davidson organized a toy run that had some of the gifts going to them. But, what about those keiki — they need stuff, too!”

So Saturday, the Koa Puna motorcycle club partnered with the Kekaha Hawaiian Homes Association and E Ola Mau O Kekaha to organize a Christmas party for the Westside keiki, that filled the H.P. Faye Park in Kekaha with the sounds and merriment of the season, including entertainment, food, activities and toys for the keiki.

“We hope to make this an annual event,” Copeland said. “This is just the first time we’re trying it, but we hope to be able and make it happen every year.”

The list of keiki was culled from student lists from the area schools, including the two Niihau charter schools. Copeland determined the group needed about 450 toys to brighten their Christmas.

“Look at this,” he said Saturday at the Kauai Harley- Davidson. “We’re just a handful of riders and friends — 13 riders! — and we collected enough toys and goodies to fill two truckloads of toys with more coming in. And, in addition to the trucks, we have a car filled with cookies!”

Copeland said the motorcycle riders would lead the caravan to the H.P. Faye Park and eventually distribute the toys and gifts to the keiki during the party — more than 560 toys, as well as individually wrapped gifts.

“The Westside kids don’t get nothing,” said Rocky Ferguson, one of the motorcycle riders. “This is going to make a big difference.”

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Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or dfujimoto@thegardenisland.com.

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