East Hawaii News

Hilo Walmart Tops Nation in Fundraising For Children’s Miracle Network

March 6, 2022, 2:00 PM HST
* Updated March 6, 12:28 PM
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From left, Mark Roberts, Hilo Walmart store manager; Julie Breckenkamp, vice president, national strategic partnerships, Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals; Teri Nestel, president and CEO, CMN Hospitals; Shawn McCullum, market manager, Walmart Hawai‘i; Sharyn Richardson, Hilo Walmart store co-manager; Colette Forcier, program director, Kapi‘olani Children’s Miracle Network. Photo Credit: Hawai‘i Pacific Health

Hawai‘i Walmart and Sam’s Club stores continue their efforts to raise funds for the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, and the Hilo Walmart store is leading the way — nationally.

Hilo Walmart raised $71,784 in 2021, making it the most successful of the 4,670 Walmart stores nationwide for the fourth time in five years, according to a press release.

One of Hilo Walmart’s bigger fundraisers was an in-store parade featuring floats decorated by employees and led by 2020-21 CMN Champion Haumea Friel in her own decked-out ride-on car. Photo Credit: Hilo Walmart

One of its bigger fundraisers was an in-store parade featuring floats decorated by employees and led by 2020-21 CMN Champion Haumea Friel in her own decked-out ride-on car. Teri Nestel, CEO of CMN Hospitals, also visited Hilo to present a Golden Cowbell Award created specifically for the team known for ringing cowbells and shouting “mahalo” for every donation.

“It’s so electric and fun. We really feel that’s what generates the buzz in the building and makes everyone feel so inspired,” said Hilo Walmart Store Manager Mark Roberts in the press release. “It’s the perfect trophy for all the associates and it actually rang. They all yelled ‘mahalo’ after we shook it.”

Generous local donors all helped Hawai‘i Walmart and Sam’s Club stores raise more money for the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals than any other market in the country in 2021. Hawai‘i’s 13 Walmart and Sam’s Club locations raised $383,060.83 for Kapi‘olani Medical Center for Women & Children, Hawai‘i’s only Children’s Miracle Network Hospital, according to the release.

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Four other Hawai‘i Walmart locations also ranked in the top 15 in the nation, thanks to some creative campaigns.

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“Kapi‘olani relies on donations for the lifesaving care of local children, and Hawai‘i’s generous spirit always amazes and inspires us,” said Gidget Ruscetta, chief operating officer of Kapi‘olani Medical Center for Women & Children, in the press release. “We are proud to be the state’s only full-service children’s hospital and are honored by the trust and support of our communities to help our keiki live happy and healthy lives.”

In 2021, money raised through the Walmart and Sam’s Club campaigns helped Kapi‘olani purchase a portable ultrasound machine for its neonatal intensive care unit. The machine will allow the medical team to perform several procedures for newborns without moving them from their beds, including checking heart strength, performing brain scans, providing guidance for nurses doing blood draws and more.

Since 1994, Hawai‘i Walmart and Sam’s Club stores have raised more than $4,054,746 for Kapi‘olani. The next campaign will be conducted from June 13-July 10. People also can still donate online by clicking here.

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