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Walking for lots of dollars

LIHUE — Executive Director Lori Miller said she’s asking Kauai Hospice contributing members to add $2 to their normal pledge.

“This year, I want Kauai Hospice people to give $37 instead of $35 because it is the 37th anniversary of the Visitor Industry Charity Walk,” Miller said. “It might sound like it’s just $2, but if everyone puts in the extra $2, it really adds up.”

Marc Bennor, director of operations for the Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas and the 2015 Charity Walk chair, announced the goal of $250,000, up from the $230,000 collected during the 2014 Charity Walk. He also announced a goal of 2,200 walkers, an increase from the 2,103 walkers from last year’s event.

“This is a lofty goal,” said June Cappiello of the Sheraton Kauai Resort and the communications director for the Charity Walk. “Last year, we broke records with $230,000 raised to help more than 50 of Kauai’s nonprofit organizations.”

The walk will take place May 19, starting at 7 a.m. at the lawn of the historic County Building.

Several other events are planned to take place ahead of the walk to help with the fundraising efforts.

The annual Charity Walk Bowling Tournament will be held April 18 at the Lihue Lanes from 6 to 9 p.m.

A silent auction as well as representatives from the beneficiary organizations will be highlights of the Countdown to Charity Walk on May 9 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Kukui Grove Center.

The 37th annual Visitor Industry Charity Walk, hosted by the Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association, is open to the public.

Bennor said proceeds stay on Kauai to support the work being done by Kauai nonprofits. Last year, more than 45 nonprofits, including the Kauai Hospice and the Kauai Lifeguard Association, were beneficiaries of Charity Walk funds.

“This year’s motto, ‘Lucky Live Kauai,’ reminds participants of our great fortune to live on a beautiful island with such a supportive community,” Bennor said. “Our goal, to not only raise $250,000, but to also increase the number of walkers, is aggressive and challenging, but we have confidence that, together, the members of our community can accomplish great things.”

Dr. Monty Downs of the Kauai Lifeguard Association said participating in the Charity Walk is a humbling experience.

“During the awards ceremony where the beneficiaries receive their awards, it is amazing to see just how many are doing so much to help this island,” said Downs, an ER physician.

The Charity Walk takes walkers through Lihue on a 2.9-mile route, punctuated by aid stations manned by various community organizations and finishing to a rousing welcome from representatives of beneficiary organizations and the Kapaa High School football team.

There will also be entertainment, prize drawings and “Breakfast on the Lawn” prepared by chefs from various Kauai resorts and hotels.

Pledge forms will be available at all four Ace Hardware stores on Kauai as well as at the Menehune Marts.

Additional fundraising efforts from the different hotels and resorts can be found on the Charity Walk social media pages, including Facebook.com/CharityWalkKauai, and Instagram@charitywalkkauai.

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Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or dfujimoto@thegardenisland.com.

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