Pumpkins and more

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Kaua‘i County Council candidates Bernard Carvalho Jr. Kipukai Kuali‘i, Jade Wai‘ale‘ale Battad, and Felicia Cowden load pumpkins and locally-grown watermelons into a patron’s pickup, Saturday during the Great Pumpkin Give-Away at the Kekaha Neighborhood Center.

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Former mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. adds a pumpkin to the growing cache of food and other giveaways, Saturday during the Great Pumpkin Give-Away at the Kekaha Neighborhood Center.

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    The crew from Wrangler’s Restaurant look over their pumpkin picks, Saturday during the Great Pumpkin Give-Away at the Kekaha Neighborhood Center.

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Volunteers for the Hawai‘i Foodbank, Kaua‘i Branch load food from the Kokua No Ka ‘Ohana distribution that was part of the Great Pumpkin Give-Away at the Kekaha Neighborhood Center.

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Volunteers rush to service cars coming through the drive-through, Saturday during the Great Pumpkin Give-Away at the Kekaha Neighborhood Center.

KEKAHA — There was no shortage of pumpkins, Saturday when a group of community sponsors presented the Great Pumpkin Give-Away at the Kekaha Neighborhood Center amidst rain, thunder and lightning.

“We have lots of pumpkins and melons,” said Stephanie Iona, one of the organizers. “People have come to expect thousands of pumpkins during the Fall Festival. But, I’m worried about the food. We will probably run out.”

Hundreds of people lined Amakihi Road and overflowed onto Kekaha Road in anticipation of getting free pumpkins and more during the two-hour giveaway that is the 2020 version of the Harvest Festival where people in the cars wore face masks and drove through without leaving their cars.

“We actually bought the pumpkins from Ah Loo Farms on O‘ahu,” said Sandi Kato-Klutke, another of the organizing leaders. “Ours aren’t going to be ready until later, and the bugs got the rest. But the melons were grown by Hartung Bros. and they’re ready to go. Ah Loo Farms is being devastated on O‘ahu because of this pandemic.”

In addition to the free pumpkins and melons presented in a COVID-19 compliant drive-through no contact format, families received a lot more as the pumpkin giveaway was enhanced by offerings from several other groups, including the Hawai‘i Foodbank, Kaua‘i Branch that coincided one of its nine Kokua No Ka ‘Ohana food distributions with the giveaway.

Lee Remigio of the Hawai‘i Foodbank Kaua‘i Branch said there was about 11,500 pounds of food, including the Aloha Box from Y. Hata and Sons, bread, eggs, bags of fresh apples and oranges, and cases of saimin being passed out by volunteers from the community.

Wes Perreira, the Hawai‘i Foodbank Kaua‘i Branch manager, said they had planned to do about 500 packages of food for the two-hour period.

The offering was enhanced with beverages provided by Mark Lauer of the Kaua‘i Pepsi.

Mark’s wife Sheri Lauer was part of the Hawai‘i Heath Systems Corporation, Kaua‘i Region that provided information on the flu season and a healthy snack of fresh fruits.

Teddy Arroyo had his Kaua‘i Pop Warner Football League associations, and some high school football players out in force with a hot shoyu chicken bowl, shopping bags, and malasadas, adjacent to the free pumpkins tent that was manned by candidates for the Kaua‘i County Council. Mina Morita of the Kaua‘i Democratic Party handed out gift certificates from the Waimea Subway sandwiches and Super Duper II Ice Cream.

The enhancements were rounded out by Kaua‘i students from Kamehameha Schools-Kapalama who are here and doing distance learning. The students, some garbed in pink in support of October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month, packed bags of groceries and personal hygiene supplies.

The Kekaha free pumpkin giveaway was the start of three additional deliveries coming up this week.

On Wednesday, pumpkins for keiki will be given away at The Shops at Kukui‘ula from 2 to 6 p.m. The students at the Kaua‘i Christian Academy will be getting their pumpkins this weekend, and another giveaway will take placce at the Puhi Park Produce from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., or while supplies last.

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