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Kumu’s Cupboard celebrates five years, teachers’ resourcefulness

LIHU‘E — Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School art instructor Kristi Gibbs was not there Saturday.

Neither was Wilcox Elementary School STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) class teacher Natsumi Miyasato, who was recently featured when her class re-established the cricket farm in her classroom.

But their accomplishments as teachers and educators were present, many contributed as thank-you gifts to Kumu’s Cupboard, when Kumu’s volunteers opened the doors to a special celebratory fifth-anniversary showcase at the location provided by the Kukui Marketplace near the Target store.

The quasi-open house marked the fifth year, including more than two years in the COVID-19 pandemic, the teacher-resource facility has been helping Kaua‘i’s educators by offering materials the educators would normally have to dig into their personal budgets to pay for. Admission to the open house was also in accordance with the pandemic, requiring proof of vaccine or a negative COVID test result, and requiring close-contact information and face masks.

“This is really good,” a teacher said, leaving the facility with a bag full of supplies. “This is stuff that without Kumu’s Cupboard I would have to pay for.”

Gibbs’ students’ artwork that would, in times outside of the pandemic, be displayed in the annual showcase at the Kaua‘i Society of Artists gallery at Kukui Grove Center, was part of the celebratory open house.

“These pieces utilize a lot of the material she came to get,” said Kumu’s volunteer Susan Jeffrey. “Paper, brushes, and even the dishwashing liquid, down to the clay.”

Miyasato’s students’ work delved into the realm of learning and having fun, with items like the popular kendama game being created using materials such as paper cups, twine and a wad of foil, or an aerodynamic glider utilizing strips of poster paper and a drinking straw.

These materials that serve to stimulate students’ minds to learning are ultimately donated to Kumu’s Cupboard from individuals to corporations for the teachers and educators to draw upon. Other supplies and needs are purchased with funds contributed to Kumu’s Cupboard.

“We take anything,” said Elysse Litvack, one of the founders of Kumu’s Cupboard. “There is nothing that is too small or too big.”

Kumu’s Cupboard is the beneficiary of a book sale being presented Saturday by Sheila Bradley and USBorne Books and more that will be part of the Read Across America festivities at the KGC food court.

Kapa‘a Middle School instructor Ms. Miss, Nor El Haeda, was also representing the Kapa‘a Middle School teachers who utilize a lot of material from Kumu’s Cupboard with their respective school work.

“That’s my name,” Ms. Miss said, demonstrating yet another tool that facilitates learning. “That’s my dad’s real name, ‘Miss.’ And, you know how students call everybody ‘miss’ or ‘uncle?’ Yeah, they call me ‘Miss Miss,’ and when their parents ask, they say it’s ‘Miss.’ What? ‘Yeah, it’s ‘Miss Miss.’ We use a lot of things from Kumu’s Cupboard, too. Things like markers, paper, paint and more that our science teachers use for STEM education.”

Litvack said to launch the fifth anniversary, Kumu’s Cupboard opened a diversity section containing books, literature and specially colored crayons, markers and more.

“This has been really popular since we opened it Friday,” said a clerk working the resource center. “Some of the items already sold out.”

Kumu’s Cupboard is Kaua‘i’s nonprofit organization that provides free school supplies to teachers and educational staff.

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Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or
Source: The Garden Island

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