Kau Kau Wagon is counting on holiday kokua


POSTED: Wednesday, November 18, 2009

It's a frantic time for Sharon Black, founder of the Kau Kau Wagon, as she readies her annual Thanksgiving of Hope dinner in Chinatown.

Not only are times tougher — meaning lagging donations, and possibly more mouths to feed — but her cell phone's holding less charge and her computer keeps crashing.

“;I'm missing calls so I'm missing opportunities,”; she said last week. “;We're blasting updates on Facebook and Twitter as fast as we can.”;

Yet no matter how lean times are, Black's longtime message, going on for 23 years now, never wavers.

“;We're hoping to feed 600 to 800 people ... and the dinner is open to anybody. If you're hungry and you want a holiday meal, come down. You can be Bill Gates or anybody. You don't need a reason to come.”;

The Kau Kau Wagon serves the hungry every Saturday with the help of churches, schools and businesses, mixing in food with other support, including pet therapy and dispersal of donated clothing and toiletries.

As in years past, Lt. Gov. Duke Aiona will be among those serving food. Black believes elected officials “;need the chance to get on the front line. When they're handling bills dealing with these issues, it's good to see the faces of those affected.”;

Most-needed items: folding tables, tarps and tents, sterno cans and serving pan holders.

Menu items still lagging in donations include hams, yams and mashed potatoes. Black also says it would be nice to have shave ice for the children.

Another important item to remember: Food certificates for fast-food eateries. “;Those stretch meals to another day,”; said Black.

All 50 turkeys, rice and stuffing donations have been secured.

The rest of the items follow. If you're thinking of pitching in with a dish, it's vital that the food be prepared. “;This is picnic style, so the key is that the food is ready to go,”; Black said.

Food items

» Gravy: 5 gallons or more
» Yams: 30 to 35 pans
» Vegetables: 30 to 35 pans
» Cranberry sauce: 15 pans
» Rolls: 30 dozen
» Fresh fruit: 35 to 45 bags or cases
» Pies: 60 to 70
» Whipped cream: 10 to 15 cans
» Drinks: 20 cases water and 20 gallons juice
» Snacks: candy, cookies, bars
» Ice, ice and more ice
» Food certificates

Nonfood items

» 700 large clam shell containers
» 300 strong paper plates
» 1,000 napkins
» 1,000 forks, knives and spoons
» 20 disposable paper table cloths
» 15 to 20 6-foot folding tables
» 10 large tarps and tents
» Large trash bags
» Large aluminum foil
» 3 to 5 boxes serving gloves
» Disposable serving utensils
» Sterno cans and serving pan holders