East Hawaii News

Charity Walk Aims to Raise Funds for Hawai‘i Charities

April 9, 2015, 3:25 PM HST
* Updated April 9, 3:28 PM
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Put your best “slippah” forward.  The Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association (HLTA) is holding its 37th annual Charity Walk on Saturday, May 9 on the Big Island.

The fundraising event aims to raise money for local charities throughout Hawai‘i. Charity Walks are scheduled statewide, and monies raised will stay on-island. This year’s event expects to see 14,000 walkers statewide.

“The Charity Walk is the hospitality industry’s signature fundraising event each year and makes incredible contributions to our local communities across the state by providing valuable funding to hundreds of worthwhile causes,” said Ben Rafter, statewide chair of the HLTA Charity Walk. “It is rewarding to see the collective efforts of Hawaii’s number one industry making a lasting difference, with more than $27 million given since the walk’s inception in 1978.”

Last year’s walk raised a record $1.88 million by 14,281 participants throughout the Islands. The funds benefited more than 200 local charities.

One of the Charity Walk’s beneficiaries is Big Brothers Big Sisters Hawai‘i, an agency partnering at-risk youth with one-on-one mentors for support and guidance.

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“The Charity Walk helps us sustain our important programs that match big brothers with little brothers and big sisters with little sisters to enable them to realize their potential in our effort to build stronger and supportive communities,” said Dennis Brown, president and CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters Hawai`i.

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HLTA is encouraging more charities to apply for assistance and get involved in the Charity Walk program.

“The Charity Walk offers non-profits and charities a really efficient platform and effective opportunity to raise money for their causes,” said George Szigeti, HLTA president and CEO. “It’s a win-win for everyone who gets involved.”

According to Szigeti, organizations who want to participate only need to rally supporters, and HLTA will do the rest.  Each organization gets to pocket the money they raise, with a little extra provided by HLTA.

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The walk will feature entertainment and food throughout the route’s checkpoints.

To participate, there is a minimum $40 donation for adults and $25 for youth 18 and younger.  The walk is open to all who wish to participate.

To learn more, or for walker applications, visit www.CharityWalkHawaii.org, or call Charity Walk representative Darren Matsumoto at (808) 887-7333.

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