They give a hundred percent as a thanksgiving meal to the needy, the homeless ( News Hawaii )

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) – Hundreds of volunteers poured out this Thanksgiving to feed the hungry and needy on Oahu.

Dozens of companies also donated food, money and their time, including a Kalihi restaurant that resumed a family tradition of feeding homeless people in the neighborhood.

“This is the first time since the pandemic,” said Todd Matsumoto, owner of Matsumoto’s Okazuya. “I thank God for the opportunity to do it again.”

For about a decade, the Matsumoto family and friends filled their two Volkswagen vans with 70 to 100 plate lunches — turkey, ham, salad and pumpkin pie — dropping them off to people living on the streets of Kalihi, Iwilei, Chinatown and Sand Island.

He said he delivers food to homeless people who would otherwise go to a shelter for Thanksgiving dinner or the Salvation Army’s annual dinner at the Neal Blaisdell Center.

“Some people have got their own problems, where they don’t want to be seen or whatever. That’s why it goes to the people who can’t do it, who are hit by Sand Island, at the airport or on the side of the road,” Matsumoto said.

They started feeding the poor after Matsumoto recognized that some of the people living on the streets near the Kapalama Canal were former classmates.

But the pandemic stopped the food production for two years. Her daughter, Taylor Matsumoto, said she and her family are happy to resume the tradition.

“We know some of them. It makes me feel better … to help someone get back on their feet with a hot dinner on Thanksgiving,” Taylor said.

Many said that they liked the generosity of the restaurant owner.

“I think it’s their innate nature to hear that it’s kind to other people,” said “B,” who lives on the streets of Iwilei and asked only his first name to be used.

Across town at the Blaisdell Center, hundreds turned out for the 50th annual Thanksgiving Dinner to thank the Salvation Army.

Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiard carved the ceremonial turkey and Governor-designate Josh Green joined a team of 600 volunteers serving meals to the hungry and elderly.

“The people you see here, in many cases, have real life challenges — sometimes it’s poverty, sometimes it’s just a big challenge with their health. So it’s amazing to see them being able to go out and get loving care from the Salvation Army,” said Green.

Salvation Army Major Phil Lum said the event provided enough food for 2,000 people – with food donated by local companies and restaurants.

“It’s about 900 pounds of turkey, about 35 gallons of gravy and the list goes on,” Lum said.

“We haven’t done this in two years because of the pandemic. So it’s great to be here again in person.

Blangiardi added that this was a “very heart-felt experience”.

Times are tough, we are challenged, but we are still so thankful, said Blangiardi.

“Today is a great day to put everything in perspective.”


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