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Hyatt associates get more food

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PO‘IPU — The Grand Hyatt Kaua‘i Resort &Spa’s lobby fronting the registration desk bustled with activity Thursday during the final food drive for its furloughed associates.

That activity was not from guests checking into the resort, but instead belonged to hotel employees getting to pick up food packages from tables laid out in the lobby.

The Kaua‘i Independent Food Bank partnered with several local groups, including the East Kaua‘i Lions Club, Zonta Club of Kaua‘i and Hyatt employees in distributing nearly 500 food packages.

The distribution was set up for drive-thru, no-contact pickups, and also set up in the lobby for walk-up pickup by the scores of employees who are already back to work, preparing the resort for re-opening in anticipation of Kaua‘i rejoining the state’s Safe Travels program. The Grand Hyatt Kaua‘i website confirms the resort’s reopening today.

“Even the drive-thru is different,” said Kelvin Moniz, KIFB executive director. “They’re trying to clear the parking lot of all the equipment and material before opening.”

Rowena Cobb, the KIFB board member who officially retired after many years of service during the recent board meeting, was back on the line with the current board President Donna King, moving employees’ cars through the drive-thru pickup.

Workers already back on the job were excited about getting food one more time, gathering in the lobby area in groups armed with utility carts and boxes to haul off their food packages that included pork butt instead of the traditional ground beef.

“My dogs are going to love me when I get home,” said Stacie Chiba-Miguel of The Shops at Kukui‘ula, who was among the volunteers.

Janice Bond, the East Kaua‘i Lions Club president, was pleased that all four of her recruits — she calls them “Cubs” — were out to help, and the Zontans cut their Zoom meeting short as the first cars rolled through.

Moniz said the Hyatt’s was one of the bigger of the resort employees food distribution.

“Now that the employees are starting to go back to work, we need to get back with our keiki and kupuna programs,” Moniz said. “Elementary schools are back to full in-person learning, and we need to start getting our kupuna taken care of.”

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Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or [email protected]

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