Plaza Puts On Party For Autism

Steve Murray
Wednesday - October 27, 2010
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Retailers at Waimalu Plaza are teaming up for a “Party at the Plaza” Nov. 7 to raise money for Talk About Curing Autism, a national organization that helps speed medical treatments for autistic children by bringing families together to exchange information.

Jill Shiroma, owner of plaza tenant Shiroma’s Wine and More, said the fundraiser is a way to publicize fellow merchants and to help out a worthy organization.

“Lee Choy from Paradise Optical and I got together and we just started to brainstorm ideas so we could get Waimalu Plaza a little bit more action and to promote something we believe in - TACA. That’s a great organization, so we decided to do a party,” said Shiroma.

Deborah Zimmerman, one of the co-coordinators for the Hawaii chapter of TACA, added that the effort is greatly needed.

“It is a blessing to us,” Zimmerman said. “Locally, our chapter has no paid staff. We are all volunteers, and fundraising is our biggest challenge.

“To have the small business community reach out and basically throw a fundraiser for us where we only have to be the beneficiary is unbelievable.”

The free party runs from 2 to 6 p.m. and features wine tasting, a prize wheel, a country market and live music by Zac Shimizu.

The highlight of the day, however, is the Country Stew Cook-Off. Amateur chefs can make any stew of their choosing at home and bring it in for judging. Roy Sakuma serves as moderator of the competition, and local food aficionados Kyle Matsumoto (chef of Off the Wall Restaurant), Glenn Uyeda (owner/chef of Aiea Bowl) and food bloggers Melissa Chang and Ed Morita will serve as judges. Prizes will be awarded to the top three entries, and the grand-prize winner will walk off with a $500 Oakley watch.

Participation fee is $25 and is limited to the first 25 entrants. Deadline to enter is Nov. 1. For more information, call Shiroma’s Wine and More at 487-7926 or e-mail .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) for forms.

While the cook-off champ will walk away with all the glory, the big winners will be local families that are coping with autism.

Zimmerman said one in 98 children and one in 58 boys are born with autism. TACA Hawaii currently serves almost 300 families, with many more that needing help. For more information on the group and its services, go to

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