POIPU — Steve May, son Alex and daughter Ellie were delighted when they sat down at Table 53 at RumFire Poipu Beach Friday. It promised to be a wonderful evening of great food, conversation and spectacular ocean views.
What made it even better, though, was knowing their dinner tab was going to support the Kauai Humane Society.
“We donate to the humane society back where we live so we think it’s a great a thing, that they do this for the humane society here,” the California resident said. “We love animals as a family and so it’s fantastic for the restaurant to contribute to that cause.”
Since October 2012, the food and beverage proceeds from Table 53 at the RumFire have been donated to local charities. The concept has been wildly successful and recently hit the $100,000 mark to support programs that serve the island in various ways from feeding the hungry, nurturing keiki and taking care of kupuna.
“We want to extend a warm mahalo to our island ohana who dined with us at Table 53 over the past two years,” said Chip Bahouth, Sheraton Kauai general manager. “We are proud to support the many worthy programs within our island community.”
Jason Watson, Sheraton restaurants and bar manager, said as someone new to the island, it was almost shocking to see and hear about all the community outreach at the Sheraton Kauai.
“When I first learned about Table 53, the program was benefiting the American Cancer Society’s Hoedown for Hope,” he said. “I had just found out my sister had been diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer and was fighting for her life. I started to get emotional because it was too big of a coincidence.”
Kelvin Moniz, executive director for the Kauai Independent Food Bank, said the contributions from Table 53 have a big impact on the food bank’s ability to help others.
“We have been the beneficiary of Table 53 during times when our food drives were not active,” Moniz said.
“The proceeds have helped us keep the programs such as the Keiki Cafe and backpack programs going. We at the Kauai Independent Food Bank definitely appreciate the help from the Sheraton Kauai and Table 53.”
The Hawaii Foodbank, Kauai Branch has also received help from Table 53. The Sheraton Kauai has also contributed two vehicles from its fleet to the Hawaii Foodbank.
“When I think back on the past years the program has been in place, one of the most impactful moments for me, personally, was when we benefited the ALS Association, Golden West Chapter, which assists people and families affected by the disease,” said June Cappiello, Sheraton’s director of public relations.
“There are several families affected by this disease on Kauai and I had the opportunity to meet some of them during a check presentation. They shared some of the challenges they faced, including not being able to get all of the equipment they needed to help them live a more comfortable life.”
Table 53 is one of the stations which is always used, Cappiello said, and averages between $3,000 and $4,000 a month for the recipient nonprofit.
“If there are no reservations for it, guests are always shown to that table because of its views, and, as Jason says, its perfect alignment to enjoy the Kauai sunsets,” she said.
Watson said he stops at Table 53 every night to thank guests enjoying the table for participating and explains how much it meant to him.
“I connected with a woman from Wyoming at Table 53 who had the same cancer my sister has, and is in remission,” Watson said. “She made contact with my sister and now, they speak frequently. I have a very strong connection to Table 53.”
Patrons interested in participating in RumFire’s Table 53 program can make reservations by calling 742-4786. Proceeds during July will benefit the Kauai Humane Society.
The Garden Island reporter Averie Soto contributed to this story.