Ko Olina Charities Provides Thanksgiving Meals For Needy

Wednesday - November 30, 2011
By MidWeek Staff
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Ko Olina Charities hosted its annual Thanksgiving Outreach Nov. 19. UPS employees delivered the food to various locations in West Oahu.

Groups gathered at various churches in Ewa, Kapolei, Ma’ili, Nanakuli, Pearl City, Waianae and Waipahu Nov. 19 for a tasty turkey meal as a part of Ko Olina Charities’ 13th annual Thanksgiving Outreach.

The event took place from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., starting with the delivery of food to Ko Olina Resort. The food was then delivered to area churches. Ko Olina residents gathered food donations, and more than 4,000 meals were served to homeless and lowincome families that day.

Ko Olina Charities is a nonprofit created by Ko Olina Resort as a way to reach out to the surrounding community, providing resources and donations for various educational and charitable ventures. The organization’s work is made possible by donations from resort employees, residents, members of the larger community and grants from the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation.

In addition to the Thanksgiving project, Ko Olina Charities also participates in other activities, including educational programs, community events and environmental initiatives. These activities include involvement with Waianae High School’s Searider Productions and Robotics Program, the ‘Olelo Youth Xchange video competition, Links for Literacy and job training programs for area teens and young adults. Ko Olina Charities also has worked to create emergency shelters for homeless individuals and families on the Leeward coast.

Volunteers served up about 4,000 meals.

The Thanksgiving Outreach began as a way for two resort employees to help out a friend’s family during the holidays.

“Fellow employees helped solicit donations and were amazed to see how their efforts made such a tremendous difference in families’ lives,” explained Natasha Clarin, one of the founders and organizers of the outreach.

“Ko Olina’s Thanksgiving Outreach resulted from the initial efforts of a few with assistance from Ko Olina master developer Jeff Stone, the JW Marriott Ihilani, UPS, the Leeward Community College Culinary School and hundreds of volunteers. The program has expanded into a resort-wide outreach campaign that serves more than 4,000 Thanksgiving meals each year.”

The band 1172 provided live entertainment. Photos courtesy Ko Olina Resort.

This year’s event provided 1,800 pounds of turkey, 580 pounds of ham, 600 pounds of rice, 100 gallons of gravy, 400 pounds of corn, 4,000 rolls and 4,000 pumpkins.

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