WAILUKU - The Maui Hotel & Lodging Association recently hosted its annual Kupuna Dinner at Wailuku Community Center.
This year's holiday feast - catered to a record 500 senior citizens - represents the visitor industry's efforts to give back and honor the kupuna of Maui.
Many of the guests included those who have no family to celebrate the holidays with and/or are homebound.
Each year, the Maui Hotel & Lodging Association partners with MEO to distribute invitations and provide transportation from the various senior clubs throughout the island. This year, a group from Hana also attended the event.
Wailuku Community Center was transformed into a festive "hotel-like" dining facility with entertainment and more than 250 door prizes generously donated by MHLA members.
Each year, the kupuna look forward to an enjoyable evening of celebration with friends and partake in a scrumptious meal prepared by MHLA hotel and timeshare properties. Each participating property prepares 40 complete meals.
This year's menu included corn chowder, fresh vegetables, rolls and butter, baked ham, steamed rice, pumpkin pie, fresh brewed coffee or tea prepared and served by the following MHLA members: Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea, Grand Wailea, Kaanapali Beach Hotel, Marriott's Maui Ocean Club, Makena Beach & Golf Resort, Napili Kai Beach Resort, Sheraton Maui Resort, The Westin Kaanapali Ocean Resort Villas, Wailea Beach Marriott Resort & Spa, The Westin Maui Resort & Spa, Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa, Royal Lahaina Resort and Fairmont Kea Lani, Maui.
The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua provided valuable assistance with onsite coordination, decor and the sound system.
"The outpouring of support from the MHLA membership and the community for the Kupuna Dinner is absolutely incredible," said Carol Reimann, MHLA executive director.
"All of the kupuna will walk away with a memento of the event. We are so touched to see the spirit of giving from our industry during the holidays as we pay tribute to our kupuna."
MHLA partners with the University of Hawaii Maui College and the Academy of Hospitality & Tourism program, which provides valuable volunteer assistance with the event.
While seniors enjoy interacting with young people, the students are exposed to a worthy event while fulfilling their community service requirements.
For information, call MHLA at 244-8625.