Feeding The Hungry At The Checkout Counter

Jo McGarry
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Wednesday - November 24, 2010
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Kraftt Foods’’ Geraldd Shintakuu and Hawaiii Foodbank’ss Pollyy Kauahi

The holidays might begin for you with the call of trick-or-treaters at your door, or it might not start until the Thanksgiving turkey specials arrive in the supermarkets.

Nowadays, I mark my own holiday countdown by the launch of the annual Kraft Check Out Hunger campaign. Those little green coupons, present at checkout counters statewide, are becoming as much a part of the holiday season as pumpkin pie and deep-fried turkey. And it’s a good thing, too. The fundraiser is one of the largest of the year for Hawaii Foodbank. This year it needs our help more than ever.

Supplies at the food bank warehouse are stretched remarkably thin, and demands on donations are higher than in recent years. A couple of years ago I reported that more than 33,000 children were food insecure in Hawaii - a term that means you don’t know where your next meal is coming from. Today, the number has topped 50,000.

Somehow, with the glow and warmth the holiday season brings, with an abundance of food at our fingertips and restaurants offering a record number of all-youcan-eat holiday buffets, it makes the thought of hungry children so much harder to bear.

It’s easy to help: Just tear off a green coupon at the checkout counter at participating stores between now and January and your donation will go directly toward feeding Hawaii’s children and their families.

“The people of Hawaii have big, big hearts,” says Kraft Foods business manager Gerald Shintaku. “They always come through for the food bank. Last year donations were incredibly more than $180,000. We’re looking forward to another successful year.”

You can make donations directly to the food bank at its warehouse if you’d rather, or drop off canned goods at any number of locations during the holiday season, including Ruby Tuesdays and Napa Auto Parts. Ruth’s Chris Steak House and Macaroni Grill are offering a tasty incentive to customers who come bearing cans. “We’re happy to help the food bank again this year,” says director of marketing Emi Espinda, “so anyone who drops off canned goods at our Oahu locations will receive a complimentary appetizer to enjoy at lunch or dinner.”

And if you’re still deciding what to eat this Thursday but haven’t gotten around to braving the crowds in your local supermarket, you might want to pick up the phone and make a Thanksgiving

Day reservation instead. No longer a day where busy working moms and dads feel obligated to cook, many of us are turning to restaurants to provide food for our family gatherings.

One of the most impressive buffets of the holiday season - and one I will happily and highly recommend - is Kai Market at Sheraton Waikiki, where local farm produce is showcased in a stunning bounty of gourmet dishes. Darren Demaya is the executive chef in charge of Kai. I was so impressed with his fabulous Thanksgiving menu I thought he’d be the perfect person to ask advice on cooking the ultimate turkey.

“Brine it,” he says, “then cook it low and slow. That’s the way to a perfect, moist bird.”

Always one to listen to an expert, my turkey is sitting in a bath of salt, garlic bay leaves and sugar as you read. Wish me luck.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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