Sheraton Waipouli feeds first responders, Chicken In A Barrel gives meals to all comers

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Generations of giving are seen as Santa, aka Mike Pierce, wants a photo with his great grandchild Parker, his granddaughter Breanna Carter and granddaughter Alyssa Adams Saturday during the free meal giveaway at the original location of Chicken In A Barrel on Kuhio Highway in Kapa‘a.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Everly Montero, right, holding their to-go meals and daughter Erien’s gift, gets a photo of Erien sitting on Santa’s lap Saturday during the free Christmas meal giveaway at the original location of Chicken In A Barrel on Kuhio Highway in Kapa‘a.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Santa, aka Mike, and Anne Pierce, and sign-wavers greet sidewalk walkers Saturday during the free meal serving at the original location of Chicken In A Barrel on Kuhio Highway in Kapa‘a.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Santa and an animated chicken draw attention to free meals being served Saturday at the original location of Chicken In A Barrel on Kuhio Highway in Kapa‘a.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Sheraton Kaua‘i Coconut Beach Resorts’ Crystal Cook and Dawn Hernandez present meals for first responders to Kaua‘i Fire Department’s Ryan Nagaoka and Bo Domingcil of the Kaiakea fire station Saturday near Kealia.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Christian Marston of the Kaua‘i Fire Department Kapa‘a station, right, loads meals for the station’s Christmas crew Saturday after getting the meals from Paul Iloreta of the Sheraton Kaua‘i Coconut Beach Resort in Waipouli.

KAPA‘A — There was food for the first responders and “everyone else” Saturday — Christmas Day — in Kapa‘a.

The Kaua‘i Sheraton Coconut Beach Resort continued its tradition of providing meals for first responders, including the Kaua‘i Fire Department’s Kaiakea and Kapa‘a fire stations, the Kaua‘i Police Department and American Medical Response, the island’s ambulance service.

“Chef Chanel Mitchell created a special menu that we shared with the hotel’s guests and employees,” said Dawn Hernandez of the Waipouli resort.

“Chef also put together the meals for the first responders — all between the special CP event, a pop-up, chef-inspired event that takes place Tuesday and Wednesday. But you need reservations for that event,” said Hernandez.

The resort’s meals for first responders are in appreciation for the work the people do to keep the island safe during a time when most people are able to enjoy family and friends.

For “everyone else,” between the hours of noon through 4 p.m. Christmas Day, the original location of Chicken In A Barrel in Kapa‘a exploded with the appearance of Santa, a giant dancing chicken and a group of friends and relatives beckoning people with “Merry Christmas! It’s free! Come eat!”

Mike and Anne Pierce of Princeville and owners of the Chicken In A Barrel, with locations in California, O‘ahu and seven restaurants on Kaua‘i, invited people to enjoy a free Christmas meal at the original location on Kuhio Highway near the Kapa‘a pool.

“This is the only location where they allowed me to do this,” Mike Pierce said. “I love giving to everybody!”

Erien and her mother Everly Montero were in the line of people waiting for their meal that included turkey or ham, mashed potatoes, corn, roll, and an option for cookie or dessert.

“We were driving by and Erien saw Santa,” Everly said. “We had to come back so she could get a photo with Santa. And, of course, we got meals for the family. Erien even got to choose a gift from the table filled with gifts.”

Mike Pierce said this year’s meal was packed in to-go containers to be compliant with the COVID-19 protocol.

“We’ve been doing this for 14 years,” he said. “You remember how we used to have tables where people could sit and enjoy their meal and entertainment? I’ve got my family and grandkids all working in the kitchen preparing the meals. This is how they all grew up, working and learning about giving back.”

Another family from the Northern California Bay Area was attracted by the antics of the dancing chicken.

“We’re spending the holiday in a resort,” said Alana Gusman, the family’s eldest daughter. “But the chicken hailed us down, and now we get to enjoy this special meal.”

Pierce said he estimates about 700 meals were served “to everyone else” Christmas Day afternoon.

“That’s about how much we served last year,” he said. “Some years, it’s a little more, some years a little less. But it’s always around 700 meals.”


Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or

  1. billyjoebob December 26, 2021 2:40 am Reply

    Mike Pierce and his whole family are a class act. Merry Christmas and thank you Pastor Mike.

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