Free community meals exemplify Thanksgiving


In West Hawaii, community Thanksgiving meals are plentiful.

These events do more than just fill plates with all the fixings for people, who for one reason or another, are unable to participate in a holiday dinner. They’re celebrations of gratitude, as well as opportunities for camaraderie, civic responsibility and volunteerism, several organizers said.

A free luncheon and community resource fair will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday at the Old Kona Airport Park’s Makaeo Events Pavilion. The event is in observance of National Hunger and Homeless Awareness Month. It includes a Thanksgiving meal, haircuts, hygiene kits, clothing bank, massages, entertainment, games, door prizes, Keiki IDs and community resources. For more information, call Jasmine Angeleo at 640-0988.

New Hope Waimea Christian Fellowship is offering a free pre-Thanksgiving community lunch Sunday. Everyone is invited to attend this meal, offered from noon to 3 p.m. in the church’s gym. Call 885-5510 for more information or to contribute.

At least 400 people are expected to enjoy the free Thanksgiving feast, provided from 5:15 to 7 p.m. Nov. 27 in the Kealakehe Intermediate School cafeteria.

This event has been made possible over the past 20 years, thanks to the Kona Task Force on Feeding the Hungry. The organization is made up of community organizations, churches and businesses working to feed the needy in West Hawaii. It has served more than 140,000 weekly meals through Meet and Eat, a program supported solely by donations, said Ardie Ikeda, the task force’s coordinator.

Attendees are asked to bring a bag of rice for the Food Basket, an islandwide supplemental food network that collects and distributes nutritious, high-quality food to low-income households, the working poor, those with disabilities, the ill, seniors, children and other vulnerable populations. Rice is normally at a minimum during this period of the year. Holiday pies and other desserts are also needed to the feast, Ikeda said.

Those wishing to volunteer or contribute can call Ikeda at 987-1664, Margo Takata at 960-1392 or Elaine Watai at 896-2785.

A free Thanksgiving dinner, happening Nov. 27, is one of several service projects by the students in the Leadership Training Program at Honokaa High School.

This annual event is planned and implemented by students in 10th through 12th grades. They continue to receive an outpouring of support and generous contributions from the school, residents, businesses and community groups.

Between 700 and 800 holiday meals will be served from 5 to 7:30 p.m. in the school’s cafeteria. Entertainment, mini food bags and door prizes will also be given.

Turkeys, purchased with donations, are prepared by the Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows and served during the event with all the trimmings. Meals are also delivered to the housebound in the Honokaa area, which includes Kukuikaele, Haina, Paauhau and Kalopa.

Anyone interested in donating items for the food bags or prizes should call Angela Brandt at 775-8800, ext. 264, or email angela_brandt@notes.k12.hi.us.

For the past six years, Jackie Rey’s Ohana Grill has offered a free Thanksgiving meal for the homeless, low-income families and anyone in need of assistance. The event is co-sponsored with the Salvation Army Kona Corp. It is propelled by volunteers and supporters who donate time, food and money, said Anna Schmitt, the restaurant’s day manager.

This year’s meal will be served from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Nov. 28 at the restaurant located on Kuakini Highway in Kailua-Kona. More than 800 meals are expected to be given to those most in need. Besides at the restaurant, meals will be delivered to elderly homes, shelters and other places that registered early with the Salvation Army Kona Corp.

Anyone interested in contributing beverages or items for goodie bags, such as healthy snacks and hygiene products, should call Schmitt at 327-0209.

Editor’s note: There may be events in addition to those listed.