WAILUKU - The Maui Hotel & Lodging Association (MHLA) celebrated 35 years of giving back to the community in grand style with its annual Visitor Industry Charity Walk on Saturday, May 11.
Over 2,300 walkers gathered at the War Memorial Soccer Field for an amazing and fun-filled morning of exercise, camaraderie, good food, great prizes and entertainment.
At the end of the day, an impressive total of $701,716 was raised on Maui. The week prior, MHLA hosted walks on Molokai and Lanai, bringing in $62,606 and $26,003, respectively, for a grand total for Maui County of $789,816. Last year's total was $613,000.
More than 2,300 walkers participated in the Maui Visitor Industry Charity Walk.
The bulk of the participants included visitor industry workers, nonprofit agencies and business representatives. Many of these hardworking walkers begin their fundraising efforts months prior to the event by collecting pledges and hosting bake sales, chili and stew cook-offs, benefit luaus, car washes, tug-of-war competitions, a kickball tournament, dunking booths and concerts.
The Grand Wailea took in top honors for the second year in a row for the property bringing in the most money with $63,530. The Hyatt Regency Maui came in second with $26,442, and Marriott's Maui Ocean Club raised $17,500 for a third place showing.
Bank of Hawaii was the business that raised the most at $22,773. Monsanto came in second with $4,033, followed by VIP Foodservice with $3,592.
Winning the award for non-profits was the Maui Memorial Medical Center Foundation, which collected $65,858. Ka Hale A Ke Ola was close behind with $65,548, and Hale Makua came in third place with $41,106.
Top individual fundraiser was Betsy Scheller of Na Hoaloha, who collected $15,165. She was followed by Peter Tierney of the SPCA at $13,692 and Mitch Mitchell of Hale Makua ($12,765).
The property raising the most per capita was Maui Condo & Home Vacations at $408 per employee. Kahana Falls placed second at $257.14 per employee, followed by Kaanapali Beach Hotel with $53.44 per employee.
This year, a new category was added for "Restaurant Raising the Most." Tri-Star Restaurant Group took first place, raising $7,849 their very first year of participation.
"This past Saturday was an amazing day of the community coming together to raise funds for Maui County, enjoy time with friends, wonderful entertainment, good food and fantastic prizes," said Lisa Paulson, executive director of the Maui Hotel & Lodging Association.
"The Maui community has once again surpassed their generosity and raised more funds than any other year in the 35-year history of the charity walk on Maui! And most importantly, all monies raised on Maui stays in Maui County," she continued.
"Our ability to provide for Maui's non-profits is a direct reflection of the integrity and philanthropic conviction of the visitor industry. Maui has always done it in extraordinary fashion - our island continues to raise more funds per capita than any other island in Hawaii."
The Visitor Industry Charity Walk is a statewide event that takes place on Maui, Molokai, Lanai, Oahu, Kauai and the Big Island.
The charity walk is one of Hawaii's largest single-day fundraisers with thousands of walkers and typically raises over $1 million annually to benefit charities.
Funds will continue to roll in, and a final tally will be announced in August.
Mark your calendar for next year's Visitor Industry Charity Walk: Saturday, May 10, 2014.
For additional information, contact the Maui Hotel & Lodging Association at 244-8625 or firstname.lastname@example.org.