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19th annual Feed-A-Thon kicks off today

KAILUA-KONA — In Hawaii, giving is one of several manifestations of aloha — and it’s something Big Island residents will have ample opportunity to do during the next 10 days.

Tommy Kahikina Ching and the Food Basket, Hawaii Island’s food bank, are hosting the 19th annual Feed-A-Thon at KTA Super Stores locations around the island.

In the previous 18 years of Feed-A-Thon, Ching estimates more than 1.5 million pounds of food have been distributed to hungry people.

“We provide so that other people can provide for homeless and after-school programs and senior centers,” explained Ching, adding the Food Basket sells the goods it generates to soup kitchens, churches and other similar organizations at 9 cents per pound.

Starting today and Thursday in Kailua-Kona, the Food Basket will set up donation centers fronting KTA locations.

On Friday and Saturday, donations will be accepted at the Waikoloa KTA. On Sunday and Monday, they’ll be accepted at the KTA in Waimea. On Feb. 19-20, charitable givers can find Ching and company at KTA Puainako in Hilo. The Feed-A-Thon wraps up Feb. 21-22 at the KTA in Keauhou.

Event hours are 8 a.m.-6 p.m. at all locations. Canned goods are welcome, but monetary gifts go even further.

“I get to buy my food wholesale from KTA instead of retail, so I’m actually guaranteed from KTA three pounds of food for every $1 I can turn into the store,” Ching said.

“My motto is $1 or one can at a time,” he added. “That’s all I ask for because if you can give that, I can do the rest.”

Donations also can be dropped at the nearest Hawaii Community Federal Credit Union during regular business hours throughout the 10-day event.

All donations stay on Hawaii Island.

Ching said a private donor agreed to match donations of $1,000 every day the Food Basket is able to raise that amount.

If Feed-A-Thon raises $1,000 on each of the 10 days, the donor will match the $10,000 and toss in another $10,000 for good measure.

Denny’s restaurant in Kailua-Kona also is offering a 20 percent discount on bills for anyone who makes a donation to Feed-A-Thon. The discount will be offered from 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday.

Email Max Dible at mdible@westhawaiitoday.com.
Source: Hawaii Tribune Herald

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