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Food feeds ‘Ohana Night at Kaua‘i Community College

PUHI — More than a hundred people, including family members of Kaua‘i Community College, took advantage of the opportunity to learn more about college life during the ‘Ohana Night on Tuesday.

“We’re having two events,” said Kaua‘i Community College Interim Chancellor Margaret Sanchez, who was busy packing food for distribution to needy students with the staff of the college’s food pantry and the Hawai‘i Foodbank Kaua‘i crew. “We have this community pop-up food distribution, and we have ‘Ohana Night that is an orientation for students and their families getting ready for college.”

The food distribution was part of the night’s agenda that included workshops and meeting in-person with college staff and students to discuss and get help in areas like admissions, financial aid, academic counseling and more college readiness areas.

The field of greeters for the topics included Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Thomas No‘eau Keopuhiwa and Lahea Salazar of the Wai‘ale‘ale Project, and Kipaipai, or student mentorship, programs manager.

In addition to getting informed on topics like free money and scholarship opportunities, transferring to a four-year college and supporting college students, guests to the college readiness event were treated to free refreshments, and first-year students had an opportunity to win a scholarship.

Berna Souza, the manager of the college’s food pantry, which is supplied by Hawai‘i Foodbank Kaua‘i under the Hale Malama umbrella at the college, was one of the volunteers helping pack food including fresh produce, ground beef, healthy food and snacks.

“This has no canned goods,” Sanchez said. “Only healthy food like fresh, locally grown produce, and even the snacks are healthy. And this is for the community — everyone can get a food package.”

Waimea High School graduate Kiara Gandia was chatting with Counselor John Constantino, firming up her plans and college pathway to her automotive field of study.

Student Meleana Rita, finishing her first year in liberal arts, was one of the event volunteers.

“If this was any other college, I don’t think I would’ve made it,” said Rita, a graduate of Kaua‘i High School. “After I’m done with liberal arts, I’m looking at getting into elementary education.”

Wes Perreira, the Kaua‘i manager for Hawai‘i Foodbank Kaua‘i, said Souza is a hard-working individual.

“She’s always working,” Perreira said. “And, she’s smart. She’s always thinking about how to make the student’s life easier.”

The Kaua‘i Community College fall semester starts Aug. 17, when payments are due. The first day of instruction is Aug. 21.

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Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 808-245-0453 or dfujimoto@thegardenisland.com.
Source: The Garden Island

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