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The spirit of the Hawaiian Islands and Polynesian culture spread through Elings Park at the 5th annual Aloha Spirit Bash on a beautiful summer day held here in our own coastal paradise.

“Aloha Spirit is a culture event we put together to bring the beauty of Hawaii to Santa Barbara,” said Ruben Torrez, executive director of Aloha Spirit Santa Barbara.

Aloha is a way of being in the presence of a spirit that exists in us all through acts of kindness to others.

Cultural performances and music filled the soccer field at Elings Park as more than 500 people enjoyed delicious food and tunes from Ricky Hana, Rian Basilio and the Roosters, and more.

The mission of Aloha Spirit, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) volunteer organization, is to promote Polynesian culture, practices and traditions with an educational and recreational event bringing the spirit of aloha to Santa Barbara.

Dubbed “the charity that spreads the aloha,” the event at the largest privately funded public park in America benefited local community members in more than one way.

“We choose selected charities here in Santa Barbara to donate the net proceeds,” Torrez said.

Food from the Heart of Santa Barbara was chosen by the suggestion of friends and volunteers.

The volunteer-driven nonprofit Food from the Heart prepares and delivers healthy meals at no charge to homebound community members in need.

The bulk of the healthy and nutritional meals include a main course, baked goods and fruits with produce donated by local resources. Food from the Heart clients are referred by hospitals and doctors, medical social workers and local agencies like Hospice of Santa Barbara, Cancer Center of Santa Barbara and Central Coast HIV AIDS Services.

Twice a week volunteers gather at Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church to prepare the all natural meals full of vital nutrients, antioxidants and vitamins key to health and healing for patients in recovery or dealing with issues from surgery, cancer or terminal illnesses.

Volunteers are welcome as prep cooks and for deliveries on Tuesdays or Wednesdays at the 909 N. La Cumbre Road location. Click here to make an online donation to Food from the Heart.

Click here to make an online donatione to Aloha Spirit Santa Barbara. Commitments to keiki (children) and support (kokua) are greatly appreciated.

Torrez smiled as he gazed at the guests mingling around the festival and summed up the spirit of the afternoon festivities.

“It’s for all ages and they get to enjoy the beauty of Hawaii without having to go to Hawaii,” he said. “It brings everybody together and it benefits everybody in the community because it’s a beautiful event for people to come and enjoy themselves.”

Noozhawk iSociety columnist Melissa Walker can be reached at mwalker@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkSociety, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz

Noozhawk iSociety columnist Melissa Walker can be reached at mwalker@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.