NORTH HAWAII — For the twelfth consecutive year, students in Honokaa High School’s Leadership Training Program prepared and served a free Thanksgiving dinner to community members Wednesday night.
More than 650 residents were fed in the school cafeteria, made possible through donations from individuals and businesses for the meal that’s co-sponsored by Honokaa High School. More than 400 additional meals were delivered to homebound Honokaa residents.
Leftover turkey, rice and stuffing were donated to St. James’ Episcopal Church in Waimea for their Thursday community Thanksgiving meal in the Pavilion.
“We served hundreds of meals last year, which included over 350 home deliveries,” Angella Brandt said, HHS’ student activities coordinator who organizes the event annually. “We always hope to feed as many as need to be fed.”
Chef Peter Abarcar and his culinary staff at Westin Hapuna Beach Resort provided the cooked turkeys this year, and Paniolo Country Inn restaurant donated all of the ingredients for the stuffing and gravy that were prepared by the students.
“We have many community donors and partners who provide support financially and otherwise,” Brandt said. “Some of the donors are Honokaa Elementary Association, Honokaa Business Association, Hamakua Energy Partners, HLP Foundation, Representative Mark Nakashima, Sen. Lorraine Inouye, Aloha Care, Visayans of Hamakua, Hawaii Island Food Basket, Hawaii Community FCU, Hamakua Health Center staff members and Renewable Energy Services Inc.”
In Waimea, volunteers dished up a Thanksgiving feast at St. James’ Pavilion midday Thursday to more than 300 people. Local farmers, ranchers and businesses donated food and money to support the effort, while dozens of volunteers cooked and presented the elaborate buffet. Mana Christian Ohana donated 15 kalua turkeys from their imu and 15 pies to the free meal.
Janice Thomas’ ohana showed up early in their favorite team jerseys and helped with every stage — set up, serving and clean up, according to parishioner Steve Kittell. Event chairs Sue Dela Cruz and Ruth Smith were “organized, decorated, served tirelessly and cleaned up,” he added.