Weather cooperates for ‘Make A Wish’ benefit in Po‘ipu

PO‘IPU — Even the weather cooperated in helping the Make A Wish Foundation, said Stella Burgess of the Grand Hyatt Kaua‘i Resort and Spa Sunday.

Burgess was enjoying some quiet time before heading to the Po‘ipu Bay Golf Course dining area to help set up for the lunch that was part of the golf package for the Kaua‘i’s Grand Slam of Golf tournament that was part of the Make A Wish Foundation benefit.

“The golfers got breakfast, a gift package, and the lunch is after they finish playing,” said Burgess. “It will feature several action stations so it’s not just a lunch. We want to make it the next level so the word will spread and next year we’ll have even more golfers.”

Eighty-eight golfers, including many residents, signed up to play in the fundraiser which started at 8 a.m. and featured a $10,000 premium for a Hole in One and prizes including a round trip airfare for two.

In addition to the tournament, Burgess said more than 60 items from the resort and local businesses were laid out in the lobby of the resort to help raise funds for the Make A Wish Foundation.

These items were available through the silent auction with a premium ‘ukulele being a special prize that auctioners could earn an opportunity to win with a special $5 donation.

Burgess said local people may not be that familiar with Make A Wish Foundation, but for the resort, they receive clients at the rate of almost one a month.

The Hyatt is listed as a Make A Wish Foundation Cause Champion, contributing more than $500,000 annually as a corporation.

“Most of these are children,” Burgess said. “They come from all over the world. They could have their choice of where to go, but somehow, they select us.”

Since 1980, the Make A Wish Foundation has enriched the lives of children with life-threatening medical conditions through its wish-granting work, states the Make A Wish Foundation’s Web site.

The Foundation’s mission reflects the life-changing impact that a Make A Wish experience has on children, families, referral sources, donors, sponsors, and entire communities.

Burgess said that the resort’s latest client didn’t make it to Po‘ipu.

“He was a little boy and he wanted to come here,” she said. “But he passed away on Nov. 11 without making it here. After talking with the other resort leaders, we extended the trip to his family, anyway.”

Burgess said that to coincide with the silent auction and golf tournament fundraiser, the resort felt that hosting a holiday craft fair would enhance the overall atmosphere.

With all the rain and weather that keeps people inside, the craft fair would offer opportunities for holiday shopping while drawing attention to the auction, Burgess said.

More than 35 vendors took advantage of this opportunity to get their wares out to shoppers.

“We had to have at least one inter-active station,” Burgess said. “This time, it was the lei making using fresh flowers. People like inter-active crafters.”

Steven Mei, a former Kaua‘i artist trying to return to Kaua‘i, was busy working on an art piece between customers.

“He wanted to come, so I just told him, ‘I hope you do well,’” Burgess said. “He tried to go to other resorts, but was turned down.”

Mei, born in Chicago, said he lived here for many years, but moved to Los Angeles after people there expressed an interest in his art.

“I was going to come back after just one year there, but that one year anniversary fell on Sept. 11, 2001 and I couldn’t come back,” Mei said. “But I’m determined to return.”

Another crafter worked on braiding cordage that he used to make Hawaiian martial arts weaponry.

“It used to be that resorts liked crafters working on their projects,” he said. “But then, they became more worried about who was going to clean up the wood chips from the carving so to be able to work on projects here makes this (craft fair) special.”

Burgess said the craft fair was a separate entity from the Make A Wish benefit, but the events worked together — just like the weather did as it opened up to sunshine and clear skies as the foursomes left to make their rounds.

For more information about the Make A Wish Foundation, or to refer a child, visit its Web site at

• Dennis Fujimoto, photographer and staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or


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