Feeding families

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Grand Hyatt Kaua‘i Resort & Spa volunteers distribute dessert to a colleague Thursday during the second dinner giveaway for the resort’s colleagues and their families at the Po‘ipu property.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    A masked traffic director/greeter has time for a shaka while volunteers serve up the family-sized dinner giveaway Thursday during the Grand Hyatt Kaua‘i Resort & Spa meal distribution for the resort’s colleagues and their ‘ohana at the Po‘ipu resort.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Volunteers prepare meals to distribute to colleagues at The Grand Hyatt Kaua‘i Resort and Spa during the resort’s second offering of free meals to forloughed resort employees at the Po‘ipu resort Thursday.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    The Grand Hyatt Kaua‘i Resort and Spa’s General Manager Dan King greets cars waiting for their meal pickup Thursday at the Po‘ipu resort’s front entrance.

PO‘IPU — Aloha overflowed out of the front entrance of the Grand Hyatt Kaua‘i Regency & Spa Thursday afternoon when the resort’s General Manager Dan King and a band of volunteers welcomed back colleagues for a family-style meal pickup conducted within the parameters of social distancing and health safety guidelines created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Everyone is so happy,” King said, leading a troop of traffic directors/greeters during the second meal distribution at the shuttered resort. “The comments you hear from the cars — people are so appreciative of the effort everyone has done to keep them fed. And look at them — they’re so happy to be able to see each other again.”

Cars started lining the avenue to the front entrance early, eager to reunite with colleagues and enjoy the family-sized servings of kalua pork, mac salad and the dessert of fresh pineapples and cookies prepared by the resort’s volunteers.

“They were lining up from before 2:30 p.m. for the 3 p.m. start of distribution,” King said. “We were ready, so we let them in early to keep the traffic from snarling.”

Diann Hartman, resort director of marketing communications, said this event was the third since the resort closed in late March.

“On March 26, just before the resort closed completely, we did a grocery giveaway,” Hartman said in a release.

“Colleagues drove through the resort’s group entrance to receive a bag of groceries that contained everything from carrots, yogurt, milk, juice, cheese, tomatoes, pineapple, potatoes, and delicious lettuce from our hydroponic garden and more.”

When the resort shut down, the lettuce harvest was donated to the Kaua‘i Independent Food Bank, resulting in 86 pounds of fresh, hydroponically-grown lettuce that went toward relief food-distribution efforts.

“While these giveaways help colleagues overtly by providing sustenance for their families, moreover, it enhances their well-being during this tough time by boosting morale and perpetuating our sense of ‘ohana,” Hartman said.

On May 8, the Grand Hyatt Kaua‘i hosted its Aloha Friday dinner giveaway, where 900 dinners of beef chow fun, salads featuring the lettuce from the hotel’s gardens, and dessert were distributed to the hotel’s colleagues and their families.

“I’m normally an introvert, and the happiest times at work is when I don’t need to leave my office,” Hartman said. “But when I saw the colleagues, I realized how much I missed working with them and seeing them.”

Hartman said the resort team is planning another dinner giveaway for colleagues in the next two weeks.

“I was at the Hawai‘i Lodging & Tourism Association Kaua‘i and Charity Walk lunch distribution,” King said. “I saw the people there. We are so blessed to be here with everyone during this virus crisis.”

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

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