Charity Walk goes to the mall for final push

LIHU‘E — The Hawai‘i Lodging and Tourism Association’s 34th Visitor Industry Charity Walk is Saturday, so organizers hosted a final push for the event at Kukui Grove Center over the weekend.

With a theme of this year’s walk being “Put Your Best Slippah Forward, a Tradition of Kokua,” Denise Wardlow, the 2012 Charity Walk chairperson and general manager of the Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas, invited recipients of the walk to join the organizing committee under the umbrella of music provided by the Kapa‘a Middle School Choir and ‘Ukulele Band directed by Mary Lardizabal.

Lardizabal is well aware of the support provided by the community, expressing her thanks and appreciation for the help the choir and band received to get to the Heritage Music Festival where it recently garnered high honors.

“She’s really good,” said a shopper who listened to the music. “When my sons were in the band, they only went to Honolulu. Now, they go to California where they earn awards against groups as good as college organizations.”

Lardizabal said they recently got permission from Jonel Kaohelauli‘i, the marketing director of Kukui Grove, to share a vacant storefront with some of their achievements.

Adam Orens of the Kaua‘i Composite Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol said that organization, which recently promoted three cadets to Airman First Class and presented Certificates of First Flight to eight cadets, said they are truly grateful to the Charity Walk who provided the organization with $2,000 to support its operations at the Lihu‘e Airport hangers.

Bobby Kubota, treasurer of the Kapa‘a High School Foundation said it also received funds from the Charity Walk which will enable the organization to continue to provide support to Kapa‘a High School academic, athletic and social programs throughout the year.

The Charity Walk is open to the public and everyone is welcome to participate, Wardlow said in a recent release.

Funds raised on Kaua‘i will stay on Kaua‘i. During the 2011 walk, proceeds from the event was able to provide funds to 40 Kaua‘i nonprofit organizations.

The goal for the 2012 walk is $175,000 which Wardlow said she feels the group can achieve.

“Last year, we were able to raise $137,000 and our goal this year is $175,000 which we are confident we can achieve,” she said in the release. “There are a lot of groups who need help and the more we raise, the more groups we can help, especially during this hard economic time of budget cutbacks.”

Coming on the heels of the launch, the Charity Walk committee hosted a Zumba to the 80s event spearheaded by a partnership between the Marriott Waiohai Beach Club and the Grand Hyatt Kaua‘i Resort and Spa.

Following that, the Charity Walk committee hosted a bowling tournament, Apr. 21 where all 28 lanes were sold out, all funds benefiting the Charity Walk.

During Saturday’s final Countdown to the Charity Walk, organizers put together a silent auction and had select baked goods for sale to benefit the walk.

“The monies are starting to trickle in,” Wardlow said. “But we can still use the help and we are still inviting people to join the fun and excitement.”

Charity Walk application forms are available at all Ace Hardware store locations as well as at all the Menehune Food Marts.

Following the 2.9-mile walk, walkers can enjoy breakfast prepared by resort chefs from the Grand Hyatt Kaua‘i, Starwood Hotels Kaua‘i, the Kaua‘i Marriott and Marriott Waiohai and the Kaua‘i Beach Resort as well as entertainment and prize drawings.

The fun starts at 6:30 a.m. when the group gets together for coffee, safety briefings and warm up Zumba exercises with the walk starting at 7 a.m.

Visit www.charitywalkhawaii.org or call Wardlow at 827-8726 for more information.

The Visitor Industry Charity Walk is a statewide event which takes place on O‘ahu, the Big Island, Kaua‘i, Maui and Moloka‘i in May.

Started in 1974, the 2011 walk saw 10,950 walkers raising more than $1,155,000 to help local charities, growing to become one of the largest single-day fundraising events by a nonprofit organization in the State of Hawai‘i.

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