KAILUA-KONA — Thanksgiving is a day set aside each year to share a feast with family and friends and give thanks for all our blessings.
But what about those less fortunate who cannot afford to enjoy all of the traditional fixings?
West Hawaii offers free dinners for the holiday and opportunities for those who want to help community members in need.
But to pull it off, providers need a little bit of help.
The Food Basket, Hawaii Island’s food bank, is in desperate need of donations as the holiday season approaches. The West Hawaii warehouse located at Ulu Wini had no rice and only two frozen turkeys as of Tuesday.
West Hawaii Operations Manager Marshall Akamu said they serve 42 agencies from the west side warehouse. With Thanksgiving next week, they will not be able to provide these agencies with the food they are used to getting.
“Last year we were stocked. This year we are empty,” said Akamu.
Besides rice and turkeys, the organization is critically low on other proteins, fresh produce and canned goods.
The Food Basket is also accepting tax deductible donations at their Ulu Wini warehouse location so they can purchase needed food from wholesalers.
To help stock the shelves, activities are planned.
The Food Basket is holding its fourth annual Turkey Trot at the Fairmont Orchid Saturday morning. The 5K walk/race begins at 8 a.m. with a 7 a.m. registration. All proceeds from the race will go to feed our island’s hungry residents.
For more info visit www.fairmont.com/orchid-hawaii.
In the spirit of giving HELCO and Kohanaiki employees are holding food drives to support The Food Basket.
“We kicked off our Kahiau campaign at the beginning of November,” said Allison Aganus, vice president administration, Kohanaiki. “Kahiau means selfless giving. It’s a chance for our employees to be thankful for what they have and give back to the community.”
Other businesses or organizations are encouraged to follow the lead and start their own employee food drive.
King’s Daughters Ministry in Kainaliu is giving away frozen turkeys Saturday at the thrift store. Those interested in receiving a turkey must sign up at the store by Friday.
On Wednesday, Nov. 27, The Kona Task Force on Feeding the Hungry presents it’s 28th annual Meet and Eat Thanksgiving Dinner at Kealakehe Intermediate School from 5:15-7 p.m.
Once again the organization is asking for donations of 15-20 pound bags of rice for their bag rice pyramid. All are welcome to join in the fellowship and enjoy a meal together.
Contact Ardaven Ikeda at 987-1664 for more information.
Maona Community Garden in South Kona is holding a Thanksgiving Imu Fundraiser. For a $20 suggested donation you can bring your turkey, ham, etc. to be cooked in the underground oven. Bring your food wrapped well in two layers of heavy-duty aluminum foil 4 p.m. Wednesday Nov. 27. and pick up your cooked meal between 8-10 a.m. Thanksgiving Day. Space is limited. Call 937-9800 for reservations.
Cool Runnings is hosting a Thanksgiving feast from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. at their new Cool Runnings Bagel Cafe by GetSum Pizza in the Coconut Grove Marketplace. Owner Andrew Fisher, famous for his Jamaican food truck, is offering a free holiday meal for the second year. Donations of turkeys, hams, pork, canned food and pies are welcome.
Contact Fisher at 339-2188.
Jackie Rey’s Ohana Grill is partnering with the Salvation Army for the 11th annual Thanksgiving Community Meal from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Last year over 1,400 meals were delivered to kupuna and served at the Pottery Terrace restaurant.
Everyone is welcome to partake in this free community gathering. Volunteers and food donations are welcome.
The Salvation Army is also kicking off their holiday bell ringing campaign. Volunteers to man the kettles and ring the familiar bell are urgently needed. Church groups and civic organizations interested in volunteering should contact the Salvation Army at 326-2330.