Club gets help from neighbor islands

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Boys & Girls Club staff, including Asaka Herman, Diane Gawaran, Evan Schrader, Shanel Erorita, Jaelyn Belardo, Tialei Agustin, Bethany Ancheta and John Balbin, set up student packs using some of the material and supplies received from Ron Ponzo of Maui and Ellsworth Fontes of the Big Island, at the Lihu‘e Clubhouse.

  • Courtesy of the Boys & Girls Club

    The Boys & Girls Club “elves” go over some of the materials and supplies they received from Ron Ponzo of Maui and Ellsworth Fontes of the Big Island, at the Lihu‘e Clubhouse.

LIHU‘E — Ron Ponzo, president of Street Bikers United on Maui, and Ellsworth Fontes, president of Rock n Roll Motorcycle Club of Hawai‘i Island, were scheduled to visit the Boys &Girls Club Lihu‘e Clubhouse, Monday, the day before the 14-day, interisland quarantine was supposed to take effect.

The pair traditionally bring over back-to-school supplies the motorcycle clubs raise on their respective islands for the membership of the Boys &Girls Clubs on Kaua‘i.

On arrival, the pair would be met by Kaua‘i’s representatives of different motorcycle groups, and would usually include the late Russell Haluapo, who would lead the entrourage to the Boys &Girls Club that would have a yardful of youngsters being thrilled with the rumble of motorcycles and the load of school supplies.

This never happened this year.

Both Ponzo and Fontes called off their trips, saying the health and safety of the Boys &Girls Club people is more important than their trips. They also contributed to help stop the spread of COVID-19, and found other means to get the supplies to Kaua‘i.

Relying on the U.S. Postal Service and other elf friends, the results of the neighbor island back-to-school drive included a large assortment of school supplies, including 46 double-pack scissors, 11 single-pack scissors, 50 double-pack glue sticks, seven individual glue sticks, 47 ruers, two dozen triple pack Scotch tape, four each 72-pack No. 2 wooden pencils (288 pencils), 200 mechanical pencils, 40 pairs of socks, seven sharpeners, 72 White-Outs, 340 round stic pens, 31 mini staplers, 500 dividers, 108 permanent markers, 99 colored pens, 12 Papermate pens, 200 folders, 120 pencil grips, 120 big erasers, 283 pencil clip erasers, 34 binders (in 1-1/2 and 2-inch sizes), 100 file folders, 38 spiral notebooks, 78 loose-leaf paper packages, 76 back packs, a lunch bag, and 45, eight-pack tissue.

Tina Albao, the Boys &Girls Club Hawai‘i Kaua‘i director of operations and development, said the Boys and Girls Club students are currently not at the clubhouses as the clubs make the transition from their summer program to the newly-named “out of school time clubs” that will align with the state Department of Education school format when students are scheduled return to class starting Monday.

“We’ll be sharing these supplies with the students when they return to the different clubhouses and sites,” Albao said. “Additionally, we’re still talking with the Kaua‘i Complex Area superintendent on how to best utilize our resources to provide benefits to the students and their families. “

Albao said they recently were approved for a grant that would allow the Boys &Girls Club to offer the out of school clubs at four different sites — the Lihu‘e, Kapa‘a and Waimea clubhouses and the former Pier 1 store in the Kukui Marketplace adjacent to Kukui Grove Center.

“Some of the material provided by Ron and Ellsworth will be used to set up the socially-distanced centers and study areas at the sites,” Albao said. “The Kapa‘a Clubhouse will the first one to open, starting next week. Lihu‘e will follow with an opening two weeks from now.”

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

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