Ko Olina Resort to host Thanksgiving Dinner Outreach

Thanksgiving Day is next week and while many of us are planning a festive menu and getting together with family and friends, thousands of people don’t have a home to spend the holiday in or food to enjoy.

That’s where Ko Olina Charities steps in. For 12 years, the resort nonprofit—with the help of more than 300 resort employees, Ko Olina residents and local church members—has prepared and served Thanksgiving meals for disadvantaged Leeward residents. Tomorrow, Nov. 20, the volunteers will dish out more than 4,000 meals.

Ko Olina Charities coordinator Natasha Clarin started the program with Pele Toomata to help the family of a co-worker; today, it is the largest holiday outreach on Oahu. “It’s blossomed in a community-wide feast,” says Clarin.

The recipe for the Thanksgiving Outreach meal calls for 4,000 dinner rolls, 4,000 pumpkin desserts, 2,700 pounds of turkey, 750 pounds of ham, 600 pounds of rice, 400 pounds of corn and 100 gallons of gravy.

Photo: courtesy Ko olina Charities

The Thanksgiving dinner, with all the traditional fixings such as turkey, gravy, potatoes, stuffing, pie and more, is made possible through donations from the public, Ko Olina Resort and the Leeward Community College. This year, chef Scott Higa of the JW Marriott Ihilani Resort & Spa and chef Ian Riseley from The Pearl restaurant at LCC took to their kitchens to prepare hundreds of trays of food.

Mid-morning tomorrow, the meals will then be loaded onto a fleet of UPS trucks and delivered to 14 churches and shelters on the west side, including the Paiolu Kaiaulu Transitional Shelter, the Paradise Chapel, the U.S. Vets at Kalaeloa and more.

“The meals are served as a sit-down affair with local entertainment or casual take-out style,” says Clarin. “Either way, the mood is festive and the community is never hungry during this time, which is always an occasion for gratitude.” 

Volunteers load hundreds of food trays into UPS trucks that will deliver the Thanksgiving dinners to Leeward churches and shelters.

photo: courtesy ko olina charities