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Lifestyle // Good Neighbors
Christina O’Connor

Lynette and Bulla Eastman

Since 2011, Convoy of Hope Hawaii has been serving thousands at its annual free outreach event, A Day of Compassion, providing those in need with free food and a slew of other goods and services. This year’s event takes place at two locations July 27 on Oahu: Aloha Stadium and Kapolei Fairgrounds, beginning at 10 a.m. For the first time, the event also took place on Molokai last weekend.

At each site, Convoy will be giving away 22.5 tons of food – and each attendee will receive one bag of groceries. Other goods and services include haircuts, family portraits, clothing and children’s shoes. At the Kapolei site, women also can receive a mammogram courtesy of the National Breast Cancer Foundation.

The event is made possible through a number of corporate and nonprofit partners. Behind much of the event’s logistics is one couple – media director Bulla Eastman and state coordinator Lynette Eastman, who have been organizing the event as volunteers since 2011 in affiliation with their church, First Assembly of God.

“Our focus is on the people in need,” Lynette says of the event. “And that could be the working poor. That could be someone who owns a Mercedes but has an empty cupboard two days before payday.”

Convoy of Hope Hawaii is a branch of the national organization, a faith-based nonprofit that provides services that include disaster response and international food programs. Nationally, Convoy of Hope conducts more than 100 outreach events similar to A Day of Compassion in different cities.

For the Eastmans, planning this one day is a months-long process. Bulla is in charge of spreading the word about the event, while Lynette is responsible for overseeing the big picture – including coordinating various volunteer teams and facilitating shipments. On the day of the event, Bulla and Lynette will be on site to distribute groceries.

In their spare time, the Eastmans also bring church services to inmates by working as volunteer prison ministers. Both have careers at Aqua Hotels and Resorts – Bulla as director of safety and security, Lynette as area general manager – and people frequently ask them how they also can be so active in the community. To that, Lynette simply responds: “How can we not?”

“We’re not in this for the income, we’re in this for the outcome,” Bulla adds. They anticipate that each site will serve thousands. But, they say, it’s not about the numbers.

“It’s about seeing people in need having a wonderful day,” Lynette says. “Every person who comes, I want them to feel like an honored guest,” Bulla says. “I want them to feel encouraged. I want them to feel they have hope.”

A Day of Compassion also will feature keiki games and activities. Lunch and entertainment also will be provided. For more information, call 380-4184 or visit hawaii.convoyoutreach.org.

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