Help warms the Westside

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Franklin Funtanilla and Child & Family Service Kaua‘i Director Novelyn Hinazumi welcome families to the Child & Family Service Festival of Hope for Families distribution Saturday morning at the Kekaha Neighborhood Center.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Adam Cobb-Adams and Lehua Cristobal offer lokahi packages to cars driving through the Child & Family Service Festival of Hope for Families Saturday at the Kekaha Neighborhood Center.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Karolyn Freuler and Rachelle Nam of Nourish Kaua‘i finish off the meal kits featuring beef from Leong’s Meat House Saturday during the Child & Family Service Festival of Hope for Families distribution at the Kekaha Neighborhood Center.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Linda Inouye of Grove Farm readies packages of produce and gift cards for distribution Saturday during the Child & Family Service Festival of Hope for Families distribution at the Kekaha Neighborhood Center.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Representatives of the Gregorio, Mamaclay and Planas families wait in line Saturday during the Child & Family Service Festival of Hope for Families distribution at the Kekaha Neighborhood Center.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Kaua‘i County Councilmember Felicia Cowden hands a meal kit to a driver in the Child & Family Service Festival of Hope for Families distribution Saturday at the Kekaha Neighborhood Center.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Dave Hinazumi of Grove Farm prepares to place packages of produce and gift cards into a family’s car Saturday during the Child & Family Service Festival of Hope for Families at the Kekaha Neighborhood Center.

KEKAHA — Beau Acoba of Grove Farm said one of the good things about the Child &Family Service Festival of Hope for Families distribution was how many people he knew and recognized Saturday at the Kekaha Neighborhood Center.

“I know a lot of these people,” Acoba said, feeling the warmth of gratitude that filled the Kekaha morning along with the rising sun.

Grove Farm was one of the vendors participating in the one-day, drive-thru event offering individuals and families a variety of support resources, services, foods, and chef-prepared meal kits, fresh fish, and gift cards for 300 families that pre-registered through Nana’s House in Waimea.

The distribution also featured CFS Family Lokahi Kits that included items purchased and provided by local businesses, including various board games, children’s books from local authors, card games, puzzles, activity books, parenting and family resources, stress-relief ideas and hotline information.

“The phone has been ringing off the wall from people who tried to sign on,” said Pastor Darryl Kua of the Westside Christian Center. “’What about us?’ they asked. We had to tell them to come at 11:30 a.m. for whatever was remaining. But there are a lot of happy people here today.”

Sara Funtanilla, home from college for the summer, her parents, and CFS Kaua‘i Director Novelyn Hinazumi welcomed people to the event, where cars waiting to enter the distribution line snaked onto the shoulder of Kaumuali‘i Highway on the MacArthur Park side.

“We are so grateful for the partnerships and donations that make these events possible,” said CFS President and CEO Karen Tan. “As the pandemic goes on and many people are affected, we will work to reach out to those in need with food, resources, hope and a helping hand.”

One of the food items was chef-prepared meal kits provided by chef Karolyn Freuler and Nourish Kaua‘i, something new to community distributions. Freuler, one of the founders of Kaua‘i Pasta, said the kits featured beef from Leong’s Meat House and all the fixings, including a printed recipe to create spaghetti Bolognese, Caesar salad with dressings created by Freuler, and veggies.

This was in addition to the hot chili meal that families could enjoy after getting through the distribution line, and 8,237 pounds of food provided by the Hawai‘i Foodbank Kaua‘i Branch that included a pre-packaged grocery bag, chicken, packaged macaroni and cheese, bread, prepared laulau, fresh eggs, milk and fresh-caught fish.

“We are part of this island community, and many loving hearts want to help those who have been affected by this pandemic,” Hinazumi said.

The Kekaha Festival of Hope for Families is part of a series of giveaways throughout the state, and CFS partnered with E Ola Mau Na Leo O Kekaha, Grove Farm, Na Maka Onaona, Nourish Kaua‘i, the Hawai‘i Foodbank Kaua‘i Branch, Kamehameha Schools, Chef Hui, Under My Umbrella, the state’s Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Aquatic Resources, the County of Kaua‘i Agency on Elderly Affairs, Life’s Choices Kaua‘i and Konohiki Seafoods.

The Festival of Hope for Families is supported in part by a grant from the Hawai‘i Relisience Fund of the Hawai‘i Community Foundation.

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

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