Local celebrity chef Alan Wong has partnered with the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo and Sodexo Dining Services to host a fundraiser for the university’s equine program. The benefit will support the care of horses and a miniature donkey named Bob-Bob that have been displaced by the recent lava flow.
The “Bento Benefit for Bob-Bob” fundraiser is set for Monday, September 24, at UH Hilo. Both Chef Wong and Bob-Bob will be there. The $10 bentos are available only through pre-sale on Monday, September 17.
The animals are being kept at the UH Hilo Agricultural Farm Laboratory in Panaʻewa, where student volunteers under the supervision of farm staff are providing care.
“Bob-Bob is a mini-donkey who has been on the ag farm since early May as a result of the lava activities,” says Lorna Tsutsumi, professor of entomology, who organized the event. “He serves as the poster child for the group of displaced horses on the farm.”
Tsutsumi says the horses are not considered livestock by their owners, but large pets, and knowing that they are being cared for while their owners reshape their lives has been a great relief for many.
“The existing equine-related infrastructure and pastures that were initially slated for use by the equine courses enabled the farm to host the displaced horses. However, there are other needs such as medications, supplements and veterinarian visits,” explains Bruce Mathews, dean of the College of Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resource Management. “Chef Wong, Sodexo and UH Hilo demonstrate how partnerships can achieve beneficial goals. Everyone shares the same values in their support of the local community, local agriculture and UH Hilo students.”