POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, May 24, 2011
The Hawaii Hotel & Lodging Association's annual Visitor Industry Charity Walk raised a record $1.16 million following the culmination on Oahu last weekend of the statewide event.
The Charity Walk, held earlier this month on the neighbor islands, is one of the state's largest single-day fundraisers in the state, according to the hotel group. Since its inception in 1978, the event has raised more than $23 million for local charities. This year's take will be divided among some 200 local charities.
"This is a great day for Hawaii's nonprofits and the individuals who will benefit from this record-setting gesture by the people of our visitor industry," said Kelvin Bloom, president of Aston Hotels & Resorts and chairman for this year's Charity Walk. "It's an unprecedented outpouring of kindness and kokua that exemplifies our aloha spirit. A big mahalo to all of the thousands of folks who participated and gave so generously, especially considering the tough economic times."
A total of 10,950 walkers on Oahu, Maui, Kauai, Molokai and Hawaii participated in the fundraiser. While the Oahu Charity Walk took place Saturday, walks on Maui, Kauai and Hawaii were held May 14 and Molokai's Charity Walk was held May 7.
Some 2,100 walkers on Maui raised $470,100, a record for that island and the largest contribution among the islands. About 6,500 Oahu walkers raised $382,000 with walkers on Kauai raising $137,000, Hawaii island raising $161,000 and Molokai raising $5,000.
"A lot of heart goes into this event by Hawaii's lodging industry and other members of our tourism community," said Mufi Hannemann, HHLA president. "We're happy to know that the results of our collective efforts will make a positive difference to the hundreds of nonprofits that support people in need across the state."
An HHLA committee will decide how this year's funds will be distributed. Recipients, which are selected based on need and the type of service that they provide with an emphasis on health, social welfare and education, will be notified this fall. Last year $206,199 went to 56 Oahu-based charities, including Big Brothers Big Sisters of Honolulu, Hawaii Foodbank and United Cerebral Palsy Association of Hawaii.