Hawaii Island aims to raise $315,000 at Charity Walk

  • Enthusiastic team members from Mauna Kea Resort prepare to welcome runners and walkers to sample food at their booth at last year’s annual Visitor Industry Charity Walk. MAUNA KEA RESORT/SPECIAL TO West Hawaii Today
    Enthusiastic team members from Mauna Kea Resort prepare to welcome runners and walkers to sample food at their booth at last year’s annual Visitor Industry Charity Walk. MAUNA KEA RESORT/SPECIAL TO West Hawaii Today

KOHALA COAST — The Hawaii Lodging &Tourism Association will hold the 39th annual Visitor Industry Charity Walk this Saturday at Waikoloa Resort.

Registration for the 5k run and walk will be from 5-6:30 a.m. at Waikoloa Resort’s Queens’ Marketplace. Runners will start at 6:45 a.m. and walkers at 7 a.m. Post-event festivities will be held in the Waikoloa Bowl.

The 3.7-mile Charity Walk brings together HLTA chapters, member hotels, businesses and other sponsors. It is held on six Hawaii islands, with each county organizing their own walk.

In 2016, the Visitor Industry Charity Walk raised $2 million statewide, including more than $305,000 from Hawaii Island. The local goal this year is $315,000.

Business sponsors secured thus far are Waikoloa Beach Resort, Queens Marketplace, Ocean Sports, Suisan, Kone Inc. and Bank of Hawaii.

“Our organizing committee has put in countless hours gathering sponsors, pushing for participation, organizing food stations and keiki activities, even safety and security,” said Hawaii Island Charity Walk Co-Chair Steve Yannarell, who is also the general manager at Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort &Spa. “There is so much that happens behind the scenes for an event of this scale and proportion so we look forward to lots of support from residents and visitors at Saturday’s walk.”

Each year, local charities that are qualified 501(c) (3) non-profit organizations are encouraged to apply for funding. All funds received by nonprofits from the Charity Walk are spent within the State of Hawaii to benefit residents of the county in which the funds were raised.

Last year’s North Hawaii beneficiaries included Hamakua Youth Foundation, Friends of the Future, Hawaii Youth Rugby, Mango Medical Foundation, North Hawaii Hospice, North Kohala Student Cultural Enrichment Program, Waimea Country School and Waimea Cowboys, among others.

“It is always great to see everyone come together to raise monies for many of our island’s deserving non-profit organizations,” Yannarell said.

The entry fee is $25 for children ages five-12 and $35 for adults. Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult and walkers under the age of 18 must have their application signed by a parent or guardian. Pets are not allowed on the Charity Walk.

“We will have entertainment, children’s activities and more than a dozen food stations hosted by our member hotel and restaurants,” said Yannarell.

The Charity Walk began in 1974 when the Hawaii Hotel Association, predecessor of the HLT, organized a walk to benefit a major charity. In 1978 the event was expanded statewide. Since its inception, more than $30 million has been raised.

Info: Call Bambi Lau with Waikoloa Beach Marriott at 886-8128

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