Marshallese Association of Kaua‘i hosts COVID-19 community event

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Tessa Belardo of the HiDOE Office of Student Support Services YES Project prepares to-go kits Saturday during the Marshallese Community Event at Isenberg Park.

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Cece Kilma, secretary of the Marshallese Association of Kaua‘i, and Tessa Belardo of the HiDOE Office of Student Support Services YES Project help clients Saturday during the Marshallese Community Event at Isenberg Park.

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Darnell Sugioka-Costales prepares personal hygiene kits containing toothpaste and toothbrush for pick up Saturday at the Marshallese Community Event at Isenberg Park.

LIHU‘E — Community leader Randall Francisco came to help at the Marshallese Community Event on Saturday at Isenberg Park.

He left for his next appointment at the YWCA sign-waving event, but not until he received his third COVID-19 shot from the Ho‘ola Lahui vaccine team.

“They said anyone, not just Marshallese, could get the shot,” Francisco said.

Cece Kilma, secretary of the Marshallese Association of Kaua‘i who coordinated the effort, said there were people driving by who saw the banners and stopped in to get their COVID-19 vaccines.

“See that lady leaving after getting her second dose?” Kilma said. “She’s going to work for the airlines. They told her she needed to get vaccinated or she would lose her job. She just followed their orders because she needs her job.”

People flowed through the setup in the park that centered around the pop-up COVID-19 vaccine clinic hosted by the Ho‘ola Lahui crew.

“You can have a banana,” Kilma offered at the booth set up by Tessa Belardo of the Hawai‘i Department of Education Office of Student Support Services YES Project that sprouted several hands of green banana, and boxes of crayons in addition to resources for families facing insecure housing.

Represenatives from Women in Need, and the Kaua‘i Government Employees Federal Credit Union were constantly occupied throughout the four-hour presentation in assisting the crowd with rent and utility assistance, some gaining aid through the county’s Rent and Utility Assistance program.

“We don’t have the Hi‘ehi‘e mobile shower here today,” said Darnell Sugioka-Costales of Project Vision. “We did personal hygiene kit distributions through Project Vision at the last event which was the Back to School distribution. Today, I’m helping pass out kits and clothes (free t-shirts and caps for vaccinating) with Ho‘ola Lahui.”

Kilma said the event was another successful outreach program for the Marshallese Association.

“I just want to express our profound gratitude to all our sponsors for this event,” Kilma said. “The Marshallese Association would like to give a big mahalo to our partners — Ho‘ola Lahui, the KGEFCU and CRUA team, and the Dept. of Education YES Project — for their unceasing support.”

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

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