Thanksgiving Day events serve food to those in need


POSTED: Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thousands of volunteers will work tomorrow at events that seek to ensure that no one goes hungry on the holiday that celebrates a historic communal feast.

Schoolchildren have been making decorations, and adults have invested in turkeys and pies for community feasts that will serve traditional turkey dinners to several thousand people.

The biggest and longest-running Thanksgiving banquet in town will be at Neal Blaisdell Center Exhibition Hall on Ward Avenue. More than 2,100 people are expected to eat at the Salvation Army's 39th annual banquet.

Dinner will be served at noon, but the doors will open at 10:30 a.m. and Frank De Lima, Henry Kapono and the Honolulu Boy Choir will entertain the gathering crowd. Tickets are distributed in advance by social service agencies, but “;no one will be turned away,”; said Salvation Army spokesman Daniel De Castro.

“;We expect a large crowd because of how the economy is going,”; said De Castro. “;We have over 800 volunteers who make this happen, from the school kids who made place mats to the people who clean up.”;

Several hotels and restaurants donate and prepare the meal. Customers of Zippy's and Anna Miller bakeries donate money for the pies.

River of Life Mission expects to feed more than 700 people at 101 N. Pauahi St. The doors open at 9 a.m., and serving will continue from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Zippy's will provide 60 cooked turkeys.

Tomorrow, meals will also be delivered to residents of three senior citizen homes, spokeswoman Davi Teves said.

Hilton Hawaiian Village staff members will continue their 15-year tradition of serving dinner at the Institute for Human Services, 350 Sumner St. The meal, served from 2 to 4 p.m., is open to the public.

About 200 volunteers are expected tomorrow to assemble at least 150 boxes of nonperishable food which will be given to outreach clients of the facility.

Other Thanksgiving Day feasts on Oahu include:

» Waikiki. Dinner will be served from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Hard Rock Cafe, 1837 Kapiolani Blvd. About 500 meals will be served at the restaurant, which partners with Waikiki Health Center, Parents and Children Together and Waikiki Community Center for the annual event.

» North Shore. Navy members and their families will host their 20th banquet in partnership with Waialua Community Association at the association hall, 66-434 Kamehameha Highway. About 300 people are expected for the meal to be served from 10 a.m. to noon by the Naval Computer and Telecommunications Area Master Station in Helemano. St. Michael School kids decorated the place, and the Turtle Bay Resort cooked the turkeys.

>> Waianae. Our Lady of Keaau, a retreat center run by Franciscan sisters, will be the scene of a noontime dinner prepared by Sean Preister, chef from Top of Waikiki restaurant. About 200 people are expected at the annual banquet.

» Kaneohe. It's the first year for this feast, which will be served from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Benjamin Parker Elementary School cafeteria, 45-259 Waikalua Road, by Hope Chapel Kaneohe Bay members who expect about 250 people.

» Kahaluu. Members of six Kahaluu churches expect to serve about 200 people at dinner from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Kahaluu Elementary School, 47-280 Waihee Road.