WAIPOULI — Sheraton Kaua‘i at Coconut Beach executive chef Lucas Sauter jockeyed between the grill and joining general manager Chris Machorek in greeting cars, Thursday during the resort’s food distribution for its furloughed workers.
“This is a real cookout,” Machorek said, flitting from vehicle to vehicle lined up in the resort’s avenue. “We’re open with 28 percent occupancy. The Hawai‘i Army National Guard is staying here, and the 28 percent occupancy allows us to stay open. We’re hoping more visitors start trickling in so we can bring back more and more of our employees. We still have 145 people on furlough, and this is for them.”
Sauter took to the grill with chicken and other mouth-watering treats for the meal that accompanied the package of food that included a variety of nonperishable and perishable goodies packaged in special Hawai‘i USA Federal Credit Union shopping bags.
“These bags just came in, Wednesday,” said Kelvin Moniz, the executive director of the Kaua‘i Independent Food Bank that partnered with the Sheraton Coconut Beach for the food distribution. “Taylor Shigemoto dropped them off before heading to the packing for the Back to School Bash.”
More help came from the Hawai‘i Army National Guard, the Boy Scouts from Troop 148 sponsored by the Lihu‘e Christian Church, the Zonta Club of Kaua‘i, and the East Kaua‘i Lions Club.
“We have the National Guard helping with the outdoor cooking,” said Barbara Gusman of the Sheraton Coconut Beach. “They wanted to help. They spent the morning helping Chef Sauter with the grilling.”
Rebecca Carnate had none of the identifying wear on for the occasion.
“I belong to the East Kaua‘i Lions, and the Zonta Club,” Carnate said. “I’m wearing neutral because I’m with both groups. I just got selected this morning to tend to the Zonta Club sign. Lacey Love gave it to me this morning for this month.”
Moniz said the process was slowed down because of the need for more information to stay in compliance with relief monies helping to fund the distribution.
He noted that with the unemployment, the end of additional unemployment benefits, and the extension of the quarantine for mainland visitors, there is an amount of uncertainty in the community, and the Kaua‘i Independent Food Bank is looking at planning more distributions to accommodate the current trends.