PUHI — The ongoing COVID-19 medical crisis, entering its first anniversary after showing its head in China, claimed its latest victim, Monday, amidst the happy chatter of students in the clay fun class at the Clayworks at Kilohana.
“I don’t think we’ll do it this year,” said Susan Pittman of Clayworks at Kilohana. “There are just too many uncertainties going on with this pandemic. We’ll wait this year, and possibly resume for the next National Football League Super Bowl Sunday.”
The decision to forego the popular Souper Bowl Sunday fundraiser benefiting the Mobile Munchies food pantry program at the Lihu‘e Lutheran Church was made in the shadow of closures at the Kilohana Estate where visitor cars in the parking lot are instead replaced with a construction trash dumpster and pickup trucks, and empty idle tour buses and shuttles.
Doors to The Koloa Rum Company showroom and Tasting Room are shuttered in the cold Monday winds whipping through the aged mango and eucalyptus trees.
“I used to play at the Kahiko Lounge,” said Hank Curtis, a musician who opened the Friday night entertainment schedule at the Kukui Grove Center. “When it closed down after the pandemic struck, I didn’t realize how much that gig contributed to my monthly income. Kilohana depends a lot on the cruise ships, and we don’t know when they’ll start returning.”
Pittman and her family started Souper Bowl Sunday more than 25 years ago to coincide with the NFL Super Bowl with the proceeds originally benefiting The Salvation Army, then the Kaua‘i Independent Food Bank, and finally landing with the Mobile Munchies program at the Lihu‘e Lutheran Church.
Souper Bowl Sunday patrons could choose from a selection of hand-made ceramic bowls filled with a special Soup of the Day created by the chef at Gaylord’s in Kilohana, and either enjoy it in the studio’s semi-outdoors garden area or take it to-go for enjoyment at their own Super Bowl party. Proceeds were donated entirely to the charitable nonprofit.
The Mobile Munchies program, started in 2005, meets weekly at the Lihu‘e Lutheran Church to assemble more than 250 Mobile Munchies, or brown bag lunches, consisting of a peanut butter sandwich, raisins, carrots, a juice box, cookies, and chips. These are distributed to the Salvation Army, Nana’s House in Waimea, the Boys &Girls Club’s three sites, the Lihu‘e Towncourt after-school program, and the Salvation Army Kokua Kitchen.
The NFL Super Bowl LV will be contested in Tampa, Florida on Feb. 7.