Getting A Leg Up On Charity Giving

Hawaii Lodging & Tourism Association’s annual Visitor Industry Charity Walk enjoyed another exceptional year, as the number of walkers and money raised again set new records – with donations continuing to come in.

More than 12,000 walkers put their “best slippahs forward” to raise $1,371,955, so far, which will benefit more than 200 nonprofit organizations across the state. The event has raised more than $24 million for Hawaii charities since its inception in 1978.

Jerry Gibson, Charity Walk chairman and area vice president for Hilton Hawaii and managing director of Hilton Hawaiian Village, says, “This was a great day for Hawaii’s nonprofits and the individuals who will benefit from this record-setting gesture by the people and friends of our visitor industry. It was 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.”

Across the state, 12,412 walkers on Oahu, Maui, Kaua’i, Molokai, Lanai and Hawaii participated in the fundraiser, which took place throughout May. The Charity Walk was held on consecutive Saturdays, beginning May 5 with Lanai and Molokai, May 12 on Hawaii, Kaua’i and Maui, and concluding May 19 on Oahu.

Maui, which had 2,500 walkers, raised the most funds of any of the islands for the second consecutive year. Funds raised totaled $530,123, a new record. The Grand Wailea alone raised $100,001.

Oahu, which had the most walkers at 6,300, brought in the second-highest amount at $471,000. Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort raised more than $125,000, which included two Charity Walk benefit concerts on its Great Lawn.

Hawaii raised $194,266, Kaua’i brought in $151,551, Lanai $14,899 and Molokai $10,116.

Setting a fundraising record for the second year in a row was a wonderful statement on how much the Hawaii Lodging & Tourism Association and the visitor industry care about helping our communities. A lot of heart went into this event by Hawaii’s lodging industry and other members of our tourism community. The results of our collective efforts will make a positive difference to the hundreds of nonprofits that support people in need across the state.

Worthy of note is that the funds will be used to support local organizations engaged in charitable work, meaning the fund-sraised here stay here.

Mary Scott-Lau, executive director of Women in Need, attested to the importance of the HLTA’s support: “The WIN staff and many of our former clients look forward each year to getting together in the aloha spirit and participating in the Visitor Industry Charity Walk. It’s a day of fun, friendship and thankfulness. We are so grateful for the HLTA contribution to Women In Need. We need more events like these to help sustain our much-needed programs!”

HLTA’s Visitor Industry Charity Walk was another demonstration of the visitor industry’s longstanding civic leadership and contributions to the betterment of our islands.

Precious Kahokuloa

Position: Guest Service Agent
Location: Aston Islander on the Beach

Precious Kahokuloa is the lead guest service agent for Aston Islander on the Beach. She handles all the duties of the front desk, but as the person who opens the front desk each morning at 6:45, she has the added responsibilities of checking with the security staff, reviewing overnight message and requests, and checking out the morning rush of guests.

PK, as she’s known, is always ready to help, and she recently volunteered to assist an Aston hotel located in Poipu. She lives in Anahola with her husband and four children, so it made for a very early morning for the family as they made the long commute among home, school and two workplaces with their one car. Although it was a hardship, Precious has never failed to do her job, work overtime when needed, or even clean a room during busy periods.

PK also is a talented artist who creates holiday decorations for the hotel. Whether it’s Valentine’s Day, Easter, Halloween or Christmas, guests and employees can expect a unique and festive display at the Islander on the Beach.