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‘Olokele Sugar Babes’ swarmed

WAIMEA — Glenda Miyazaki scribbled hurriedly onto a small notebook Saturday while trying to juggle unfolding and fluffing blankets and towels at the pavilion at Lucy Wright Park.

Miyazaki was joined by Crystal Rowe and Pat Pablo as the trio was swarmed by the houseless population occupying the park in search of items they needed for their respective camps.

“Tents,” said Pablo. “The recent rains have been hard on the tents, and they need tarps and tents. See the big rip on one of the tents? Maybe someone has tents stored somewhere. Or an extra tarp just lying around. These people can use them.”

Pablo said the three sisters are all Valenciano girls who joined together with about 20 other women who grew up in Kaumakani or had parents w0rking for Olokele Sugar Company during the heyday of sugar on Kaua‘i.

“This is just kind of a talk-story group,” Miyazaki said. “We get together, talk story, and figure out what we can do.”

Pablo said the group of women are all professionals today, each wanting to give back to the community. The group is informally known as the Olokele Sugar Babes, and do a host of community-service
activities like the distribution of goods to Lucy Wright Park, or the recent series of food distributions in Kaumakani, where they partnered with the Kaua‘i Independent Food Bank, triggered by Rowe’s efforts that brought the male Valenciano siblings together.

“We got to know the Lucy Wright Park because our church, the West Kaua‘i Methodist Church, has a food-pantry program with them,” Pablo said. “They’re really nice people. I know because I got to know some of them when I was a public-health nurse.”

“And, some of their children came to my school when I was principal,” Miyazaki added. “The people tell us what they need, and that makes our task of coordinating items that much easier. Not all the ladies in the Olokele Sugar Babes go to the same church, but we all know the people here.”

One lady with an armful of assorted linen and clothes said they could use batteries — all sizes from AAA to the big ones — and Miyazaki made a hasty note.

“You see? They tell us,” Pablo said. “I just brought some of my grandchildren’s toys today, and look, the keiki are already using them on the Americans with Disabilities Act ramp.”

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

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