Pink Sunday

LIHUE — The best defense against domestic violence is the color pink. But pink speaks a lot more than fighting back; it opens up a world of fun, love, peace, healthy living and empowers and connects women.

Pink Sunday, YWCA’s newest and hippest fundraising event, pulled together hundreds of people and dozens of vendors to Kauai Veterans Center in Lihue Sunday.

“The whole plan is essentially raising awareness for YWCA,” said Heather Singleton, event chair and YWCA board member.

From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., more than 80 vendors, all women, networked while the public enjoyed fashion shows, Zumba, hula hoop and yoga classes, massages, belly-dancing performances and even a flash mob.

A deejay kept the vibe going throughout the day, and food trucks and food vendors kept pink bellies full.

Singleton said she hopes the event will help women to learn a little bit more about the nonprofit and support it, too. There are a lot of women who operate businesses on Kauai, she said, and many are single mothers.

“We see this as being a legacy event year after year,” she said.

YWCA Executive Director Renae Hamilton said the large attendance and number of vendors showed Kauai is coming together.

“There are so many volunteers, this is just fantastic,” said Hamilton, adding she hopes the event is also an eye opener for young women.

“I’m all about empowering women,” substance abuse counselor Mardi Maione, who was promoting her healthy coffee distribution business, Organo Gold.

Kristal Muhich, co-owner of Kauai Juice Co., said it was important to know what other women are doing, especially after what she went through three years ago to get her business started.

“We have this unspoken bond,” she said.

Muhich’s company produces and sells kale chips and kombucha. In January, she’s expanding to offer cold-pressed juices made with organically and locally sourced produce, she said.

Marlene Greer, of Kauai Chocolate, a family-owned and operated business in Eleele, said Pink Sunday showed the strength of women.

“It’s awesome to see all these women business owners,” said Katie Ranke, co-owner of Lotus Fudge. “A lot of this stuff I had no idea is happening on Kauai.”

The YWCA, the only 24-hour crisis hotline for domestic violence on the island, received 1,100 calls in 2012, she said. Their family-violence shelter housed 150 women and children last year, providing 11,958 meals. The YWCA also served additional 618 clients who didn’t stay at the shelter.

Singleton joined the YWCA board a year ago.

“This is a success,” she said of Pink Sunday.

• Léo Azambuja, staff writer, can be reached at 245-0452 or lazambuja@thegardenisland.com

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