Feed My Sheep stages Stomp Out Hunger 4

Feed+My+Sheep+stages+Stomp+Out+Hunger+4

Photo by Shanise Kaaikala

A teen gets her face painted at the Fourth Annual Stomp Out Hunger fundraiser at War Memorial Gym, Nov. 18, 2011. In the background, team members walk an indoor circuit to collect on fundraising pledges. The money raised supports Feed My Sheep, a commuity food distribution charity.

By Shanise Kaaikala, sports writer

Feed My Sheep, a mobile food distribution and ministry organization, held their fourth annual Stomp Out Hunger fundraiser, Nov. 18, at War Memorial Gymnasium, 5-10 p.m.

The event’s co-founders, Pastor Jonavan Asato and Ms. Joyce Kawakami have been producing it since 2008.

“Our goal is to eliminate hunger and support Feed my Sheep,” Pastor Asato said.

For 12 years, Feed my Sheep has been traveling thoughout Maui to give food to families in need in Lahaina, Kahana, Wailuku, Haiku and Kihei. According to their Web site, as of this writing, their service to Hana has been cancelled.

Attendance at this year’s event was sparse early on, which worried Ms. Kawakami. “We really want to make sure this community is aware of this event, we really want to keep this program running,” she said.

For those in attendance, activities were available throughout the evening. Children played carnival games, had their faces painted, and got colorful hair extensions. Live entertainment included Zenshin Daiko, Maui Academy of Performing Arts, local bands, and Zumba.  Teens and children also competed in video game  and ping-pong tournaments.

For adults, there was a silent auction whose offerings included artwork, jewelry, pottery, dresses, rugs, and gift certificates to dinners, excursions, trips, hotel stays and even Hawaiian Airlines Hawaiian Miles.

Outside, Jamba Juice sold smoothies, and the University of Hawai’i Maui Campus Culinary Academy sold bentos, cookies, and a selection of dinner items.

More than twenty current and past Kamehameha Maui students were there to help out, whether it was by organizing the tournaments, walking as part of a team, helping at the children’s games, or cooking and serving food.

The planning for Stomp Out Hunger begins in June. The committee members meet once a month up until August, when they kick the planning into high gear.  The event is made possible with the help of many churches and sponsors.

“There are about 15 or 20 local churches that help out, such as Grace Bible, Kings Cathedral, New Hope, and much more,” Pastor Asato said.

Since 2008, she said, each event has raised an average of $30,000. The money is donated by the sponsors and members of the community. Anyone is invited to get a group together to form a team that is expected to walk around the gym for the entire five hours. The teams raise money by collecting on pledges for their efforts.

The money is used to distribute food to the community. Feed My Sheep mobilizes into the community on Thursdays and Saturdays. They provide groceries for a week’s worth of meals to families in need.

Mr. Scott Hopkins, administrative assistant, said on their Web site that families could be in need for reasons that range from being homeless to working at jobs that don’t pay enough to sustain a household.

Feed My Sheep currently provides about 120,000 meals a month to the people of Maui, he said.

Ms. Kawakami said that in the past, a meal per person per week would cost about $2.50, but now the cost is up to about $3.00, so this event is even more important to support their mission.

To learn more about Stomp Out Hunger, click here to visit their Web site.