Dueling giveaways test volunteers

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Kiah Imai, 2, secure in the arms of his parents, Ashlee and Kian Imai, dives for the pumpkin being offered by Kaua‘i County Council candidate Jade Wai‘ale‘ale Saturday during the final Great Pumpkin Giveaway at Puhi Park Produce.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden island

    Grove Farm President and CEO Warren Haruki, back to camera, greets and thanks the Kaua‘i Pop Warner Football League crew that helped with the final Great Pumpkin Giveaway Saturday at Puhi Park Produce.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Majesty Brun-Kia shops for her pumpkin and watermelon Saturday during the final Great Pumpkin Giveaway at Puhi Park Produce.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Logan Balualua, 2, makes room in his wagon for the pumpkin being placed by Kaua‘i Pop Warner Football League volunteer Roxanne Samio Saturday during the final Great Pumpkin Giveaway at Puhi Park Produce.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Noah Dela Pena and dad Ryan Dela Pena are satisfied with the biggest white pumpkin Saturday during the final Great Pumpkin Giveaway at Puhi Park Produce.

PUHI — Which event to do?

That decision was shared by Teddy Arroyo, president of the Kaua‘i Pop Warner Football League, and many of the people waiting in line Saturday for the final Great Pumpkin Giveaway at Puhi Park Produce.

Arroyo, himself a Kaua‘i football official, was torn between choosing to help at the food distribution in Kaumakani hosted by the football officials in partnership with the Kaua‘i Independent Food Bank, or helping at the pumpkin giveaway.

Virgie Sagisi, the first person waiting in line, was trying to determine whether to get a free pumpkin for Paityn Sagisi, a performer with the Aloha Dance Studio at the Freaky Friday at Kukui Grove Center, or pick up food at the Hawai‘i Foodbank Kaua‘i Branch Kokua No Ka ‘Ohana food distribution at the Kaua‘i Philippine Cultural Center.

The decision was made by the people making the choice to be at the Puhi Park Produce, where the KPWFL members helped Grove Farm Company with the final Great Pumpkin Giveaway, distributing 300 pumpkins to keiki and their families on a first-come, first-served basis.

“We not only have pumpkins,” a Grove Farm spokesperson said, “there are watermelons that were locally grown, and the Pop Warner people have activity kits they’re passing out. We have 200 pumpkins here at the Puhi Park Produce, and another 100 for the Kawaikini New Century Public Charter School community set up in the Grove Farm office garage.”

For the KPWFL volunteers, the distribution was no stranger after having experience with the first distribution that took place last Saturday at the Kekaha Neighborhood Center, where more than 600 pumpkins were passed out in the rain.

“We have been busy,” Arroyo said. “Last week, we served up mini shoyu chicken bowls and malasadas, so many that we sold out. Then, we had a series of fundraisers, including the big shrimp sale. This is our fifth big event.”

Amidst the crowd seeking pumpkins, Noah Dela Pena had a mission to find the biggest white pumpkin in the field.

“These are special,” said his dad, Ryan Dela Pena. “Not only are they white, they’re grown here on Kaua‘i by Corteva Agriscience.”

The watermelons, playing second fiddle to the golden orbs, were also grown locally by the crews from Hartung Bros. in Kekaha.

Kiah Imai, 2, broke the monotony of waiting in line to get a preview of what pumpkin he wanted when he got to the pile.

He had no idea for his jack-o-lantern or any decorated gourd. He just wanted a pumpkin.

Despite not having a drive-thru, no-contact format, nearly everyone was compliant with COVID-19 safety measures, including the wearing of face masks (even the little guys had them on), and attempting at being socially distant to where the line snaked the width of the park and wrapped down Puhi Road toward the industrial center.

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

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