In a Maui tradition, volunteers serve up a Thanksgiving meal with a side of aloha

While several people enjoyed Thanksgiving indoors with family, not everyone had that opportunity.
Published: Nov. 24, 2022 at 7:11 PM HST|Updated: Nov. 25, 2022 at 6:22 AM HST
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KIHEI (HawaiiNewsNow) - While several people enjoyed Thanksgiving indoors with family, not everyone had that opportunity.

That is why a South Maui church makes it its mission to serve as many meals as possible.

Hale Kau Kau at St. Theresa’s Church in Kihei has been serving meals to the needy every day for the past 31 years.

Volunteers say helping on days like Thanksgiving is extra special.

“Seeing the people have a wonderful warm meal, maybe the only meal that they’ll have today, and it’s very gratifying to do that,” said Juno Vega, who has been volunteering with his family for four years.

The rainy, windy, muddy weather had many Maui residents extra grateful this holiday for a roof over their heads and warm food inside their bellies.

“I’m living on a campsite in the wetlands and so I really benefit from the wonderful free food that they give here,” said Warren Shear, who is homeless in Kihei.

For more than three decades, Hale Kau Kau has served more than 1.5 million meals.

The annual Thanksgiving feast is a favorite tradition.

“This is one of our biggest days of the year, just feeding the hungry for Thanksgiving, and we have a bunch of volunteers that have come to help support us today,” said Hale Kau Kau Program Director Shawn Wallen. “Just blessing the community with food is what we’re here for.”

Since August 1991, Hale Kau Kau has not missed a meal. That is more than 11,000 consecutive days of feeding Maui’s homeless, hungry, and homebound.

Bob Hipley and his wife Jane are both in their 80s. They deliver hot meals on wheels and have been loyal volunteers for the past four years.

“Especially older people need help sometimes,” Jane said. “Other people just might need it for a reason. So, we do it.”

“We’ve been blessed, and so as long as we can, we’ll give back,” Bob said.

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