POIPU — Changes are ahead for the Visitor Industry Charity Walk, said Chip Bahouth, co-chair of the 40th annual event along with Christina Gabriel.
“One of the big changes is we want the nonprofits to step up and become more involved in the walk,” Bahouth said.
“The other big change is we walk backwards from the previous walks.”
Those were some of the announcements Thursday at the Sheraton Kauai Resort in Poipu, where Bahouth is general manager. In other news, Kelvin Moniz of the Kauai Independent Food Bank was announced as a member of the recruitment committee, and Annette Bolf of the Sheraton Kauai Resort was acknowledged for all her work with the Visitor Industry Charity Walk.
Formerly starting and ending at Historic County Building, the 2018 Charity Walk will start and end at the North Vidinha soccer fields, leaving Hoolako Road to Rice Street, walking up toward the Historic County Building to Umi Street, connecting to Ahukini Road before returning to the North Vidinha fields, a distance of three miles.
“I wasn’t here during last year’s walk,” Moniz said. “But Leona Perez, the KIFB programs manager, could have volunteered me. I can do this kind of work.”
The Kauai Independent Food Bank is one of the 60 Kauai nonprofits which get help from the walk, where all money raised on Kauai stays on Kauai.
The Hawaii Foodbank, Kauai Branch is also involved, as Michelle Panoke was announced as helping with the eight aid stations that will pepper the route.
“This is something I can do,” said Elyse Litvak of Kumu’s Cupboard. “I get to chair one of the committees, and it helps with points that are part of how we get help.”
The goal for the Charity Walk is $280,000, an increase from the more than $277,000 raised by 2,300 people during last year’s walk. Walk organizers also want to have 2,500 people participating.
May 12 is the date when the thousands of pairs of feet tromp off starting at 7 a.m. Late registrations, warm-up and safety briefing takes place at 6:30 a.m. at the North Vidinha soccer fields, presented by the Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association, Kauai Chapter.
“This year, Charity Walk Kauai is increasing booths and activities at the finish line,” said June Cappiello of the publicity committee. “This would require a larger space than the Historic County Building lawn to create a festival-like atmosphere and keep participants engaged throughout the walk. There will be more of everything — food, entertainment, representation from our nonprofits, and lots of fun!”
One of the things that did not change is the free gourmet “Breakfast on the Field” prepared by some of the finest chefs on the island, including those from the Westin Princeville Ocean Resort and Villas, Aqua Kauai Beach Resort, Kauai Marriott Resort &Beach Club, Marriott’s Waiohai Beach Club, Sheraton Kauai Resort, and the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort &Spa.
Leading up to the big walk, the Charity Walk committee announced several milestone events celebrating the event which helps the island community by providing monetary support to numerous nonprofit and charity organizations.
April 14 is the annual bowling tournament at the Kauai Bowl in the Rice Shopping Center from 6 to 9 p.m., and on May 5, Kukui Grove Center hosts the Count Down to Charity Walk, where registrations will still be accepted, team captains can pick up their walk shirts (available for a minimum $35 pledge), enjoy entertainment, acquire silent auction bargains, and meet some of the 60 nonprofit organizations who get help from the walk. This starts at 10 a.m. and continues through noon.
The Visitor Industry Charity Walk is one of the largest single-day fundraisers in the state, offering an opportunity for Hawaii’s visitor industry to collectively give back to communities. Since starting in 1978, the walk has raised more than $32 million for Hawaii charities and eligible nonprofit organizations.
Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or email@example.com.