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Soldiers Give Back to Hilo

March 27, 2019, 2:58 PM HST
* Updated March 28, 9:01 AM
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Soldiers assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 25th Division Artillery, 25th Infantry Division, prepare meals for the less fortunate of the Hilo community at Joseph’s Storehouse in Hilo on March 26, 2019. While conducting training at Pōhakuloa Training Area, these soldiers find time to give back to the local community. PC: Pvt. Ezra Camarena

Joseph’s Storehouse, a community outreach center in Hilo, Hawai‘i, opened its doors to soldiers from 25th Infantry Division (25th ID) based out of Schofield Barracks on Tuesday, March 26, 2019, and gave them an opportunity to volunteer and ensure numerous families and locals of the Hilo community were provided a warm meal.

Soldiers assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 25th Division Artillery, 25th Infantry Division, prepare meals for the less fortunate of the Hilo community at Joseph’s Storehouse in Hilo on March 26, 2019. While conducting training at Pōhakuloa Training Area, these soldiers find time to give back to the local community. PC: Pvt. Ezra Camarena

The 25th ID soldiers are currently preparing for training exercise Lightning Strike at Pōhakuloa Training Area and found time out of their busy schedule to give back to the local community. Joseph’s Storehouse, along with the soldiers, provided more than 100 warm meals and 100 grocery bags full of donated food to the Hilo community’s less fortunate.

Soldiers assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 25th Division Artillery, 25th Infantry Division, prepare meals for the less fortunate of the Hilo community at Joseph’s Storehouse in Hilo on March 26, 2019. While conducting training at Pōhakuloa Training Area, these soldiers find time to give back to the local community. PC: Pvt. Ezra Camarena

“It was a blessing having the help from the soldiers today, especially with the large turnout we had,” said Kathleen “Kat” Kahai, assistant director at Joseph’s Storehouse.

Joseph’s Storehouse community outreach center located at 183 Keawe St. in Hilo, opened in August 2018 and had its grand opening Oct. 20, 2018. The outreach center provides lunch meals to Hilo’s less fortunate every Tuesday and Thursday, excluding the first week of the month.

Sgt. 1st Class Rodolfo Fuentes Colon, Master Sgt. Anthony Sollano and Sgt. 1st Class Shaun Delgado, soldiers assigned to the Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 25th Division Artillery, 25th Infantry Division, prepare utensils and napkins to serve meals for the less fortunate of the Hilo community at Joseph’s Storehouse in Hilo on March 26, 2019. While conducting training at Pōhakuloa Training Area, these soldiers find time to give back to the local community. PC: Pvt. Ezra Camarena

“It was a dream I shared with my late husband after we moved back here,” said Gail Kamakahi, director and president of Joseph’s Storehouse.

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“Since we opened, we’ve had soldiers from PTA come out and volunteer a handful of times and each time has been a pleasure,” said Kahai.

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Meal preparation started and 10:30 a.m. with the 25th ID Soldiers taking direction from Laurie Medeiros, Joseph’s Storehouse’s kitchen captain. The soldiers quickly filled their roles as table bussers, servers or water distributors.

Soldiers assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 25th Division Artillery, 25th Infantry Division, take directions from Laurie Medeiros, a volunteer of Joseph’s Storehouse, prior to preparing meals for the less fortunate of the Hilo community at Joseph’s Storehouse in Hilo on March 26, 2019. While conducting training at Pōhakuloa Training Area, these soldiers find time to give back to the local community. PC: Pvt. Ezra Camarena

“It was a great experience and I would love to do this again,” said Sgt. Eva Olivas from the Tropic Lightning Division Artillery.

Soldiers understand that training may take priority while at PTA, but when given the opportunity, they also demonstrate good stewardship in hospitality to the local community.

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“We are guests on this island and this is a great opportunity to give back to those in need here,” said Sgt. Olivas.

Sgt. 1st Class Shaun Delgado of Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 25th Division Artillery, 25th Infantry Division cleans a table while meals are being served to the less fortunate of the Hilo community at Joe’s Storehouse in Hilo on March 26, 2019. While conducting training at Pōhakuloa Training Area, these Soldiers find time to give back to the local community. PC: Pvt. Ezra Camarena

“It was our dream to give back to the community, but it is a blessing to see how it has grown with so many volunteers,” said Kamakahi.

Following Exercise Lightning Strike, PTA is hosting the local community for its annual Open House event, now called “Experience PTA,” on April 18 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. PTA encourages parents, students, community groups and others to come out for the morning to learn and be inspired by all the things PTA has to offer.

To view a video of the event, go online.

Contact PTA Public Affairs Officer Mike Donnelly for more information at (808) 969-2411 or [email protected].

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