NAWILIWILI — The Hawaii Lodging &Tourism Association, in partnership with the Hawaii Tourism Authority, distributed $38,000 in grants to seven nonprofits on Kauai during a ceremony Monday at the Kauai Marriott Resort &Beach Club.
The grant recipients on Kauai were the Boys &Girls Club of Hawaii; Catholic Charities of Hawaii; Hawaii Foodbank; Kauai Independent Food Bank; Kauai North Shore Food Pantry; ‘Ohana Christian Fellowship; and the Salvation Army,
“The state matching funds help us to feed the homeless populations, particularly the keiki and kupuna, though initiatives such as our Keiki Café Backpack and kupuna programs,” said Kelvin Moniz, executive director of the Kauai Independent Food Bank.
HLTA President and CEO Mufi Hannemann was at Monday’s ceremony to present the grants.
“All of the money, both tax revenues and matching funds, were generated by our top industry, tourism. Moreover, it’s going to a cause that addresses a long-standing concern for our entire community,” he said.
HLTA Kauai Chapter Chair Paul Toner said this demonstrates the significance of funds being raised through the Charity Walk that takes place May 11 starting with registration at 6:30 a.m. at the North Vidinha fields.
“We have set a goal of nearly half a million dollars,” Toner said. “If we can make it, not only can we award more, we will exceed the Oahu goal. The more we raise, the more we can give out, and the money that is raised on Kauai, stays on Kauai.”
Other events include the Visitor Industry bowling tournament on April 13, a shoreline fishing tournament with the weigh-in at the Sheraton Kauai Resort taking place April 28, and the Countdown to Charity Walk, May 7 at Kukui Grove Center.
Melody Lopez, program administrator for Catholic Charities Hawaii, Kauai Community Office, said “these funds allow us to employ case managers, who help us to identify the needs of those who are on the streets and assist them into housing.”
Mayor Derek S.K. Kawakami said homelessness is a complex issue.
“There is no easy answer,” he said. “But it’s good to see that we don’t forget those who make sure the homeless are fed and clothed.”