Joshua Ige wakes up at 4 a.m. on Wednesdays to start cooking rice. An early start is essential when making breakfast for dozens of children for the Lanai Baptist Church free youth breakfast program.
Ige is one of five dedicated volunteers who regularly cook and help out in the kitchen of the church. With an associate degree in culinary arts from Maui Community College, he gets to put his training toward a good cause.
Ige’s mother, longtime church member, Lisa Shin, said the church started serving breakfast in 2005 after recognizing a need for more breakfast options for keiki in the community.
A growing program
When the program first started, there were about 25 kids who joined the church at 7 a.m. for breakfast and morning prayers. Over the years, the program kept growing. Now, the church provides upwards of 165 meals on any given Wednesday.
Serving that many meals and leading prayers each week takes coordination and team effort. Many dedicated volunteers like Ige and fellow church member Cindy Sagawa contribute each week in various ways.
“We are just like a family. We always help to cover and fill in for each other in different roles. The relationships are strong, and I am so grateful for all the people I met through volunteering and through the church over the years,” Shin reflected.
Everyone is welcome
The group doesn’t limit the breakfast to children. Any resident in need of a warm meal is invited to join.
Lanai Baptist Church extends the spirit of giving through its other programs. When families on Lanai go through hard times, Shin says the church also tries to help by providing benevolence funding or financial counseling. “Lanai is so small and self-sufficient. We try to help anyone who needs extra assistance, even if they aren’t members of the church.”
Through the years, Shin has witnessed the impact that the church can have on those in need. Families struggling to pay bills or buy groceries are able to ask for assistance through the church’s benevolence program. Shin says the look of gratitude and relief on the faces of those they help is motivation to continue their mission.
Volunteering makes a difference
On the topic of volunteering on Lanai, Shin replied, “There’s always a need. It’s about giving back to the community, serving God and helping each other.”
In addition to the free breakfast program, members of the Lanai Baptist Church also help to organize the annual Christmas luncheon for Lanai’s seniors and run a vacation bible school program.
Shin invites those interested in learning more about the church and programs to talk with one of the members or the pastor. Residents can also visit lanaibaptist.org for programs and scheduling.
(Lanai96763.com’s Giving Back Through Volunteering series highlights volunteer opportunities on Lanai and features residents who contribute to the island’s vibrant community. Read Part 1 here.)