Hilo Hongwanji Holiday Potpourri

October 23, 2015

The Hilo Hongwanji Board of Buddhist Education presents an annual event in Hilo for children called the Holiday Potpourri.  This year it was held on Friday, October 23 from 6-8:30 p.m. at Sangha Hall.  It is free to the public, but the organization requests that people bring non-perishable items to be donated to the Hawaii Food Basket.  I don’t know what the final tally was for the canned good collection, but based on what I saw, the attendees gave generously to the cause.

Co-chairs Jill Atwal and Nolan Yamaki (pictured below with Frankenstein) worked with their church-sponsored organizations to have a variety of activity stations for the children to enjoy.  The pumpkin decorating station where children get to take home a pumpkin is always a huge hit with the children.  Another popular station was the ice cream making station where children had to work in teams to shake, shake, shake ingredients in a resealable bag to create delicious ice cream to be enjoyed right away.  As you might imagine, both the pumpkin decorating and ice cream stations were the first to run out of supplies.  There was also a Halloween-themed sensory mansion set up on the stage, a jack-o-lantern magnet making station, and a candle making station.

I attended the event with the Super Stars 4-H club.  Our club offered a station for young children to color and create a paper craft.  In addition the 4-Hers ran a game that children played to win small prizes.  The game set that one of the 4-H parents created was then donated to the Hilo Hongwanji preschool at the end of the evening.  The Super Stars also had a table where they collected travel-sized toiletries and packaged them for donation to a local women’s shelter.  With the generous donations from the community, our club was able to put together over 150 bags of toiletries.  If you collect toiletries from your travel adventures and have them taking up space in your cabinets, please feel free to contact me.  We do this service project regularly and would appreciate and accept your donations.

This year, over 300 people attended the Holiday Potpourri and enjoyed all the activities.  Seeing the happy faces of the children makes this such an enjoyable event. My good friend, Jon Taketa attended with his mother and his beautiful family and said, “This is a wonderful event for the children in our community.  There are lots of activities for kids to enjoy and it is in such a safe and comfortable environment.”   The picture-taking station with fun props was a hit with the preteen crowd.  This event is usually held on the Friday prior to Halloween.  If you have young children, keep this on your radar for next year. 

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