Lifestyle

‘Ukes For Ukraine Live-Stream Raises $11,000; Donations Still Being Accepted

By Nathan Christophel
April 11, 2022, 2:00 PM HST
* Updated April 11, 12:42 PM
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Members of the global ‘ukulele community sent a little island love and ton of aloha to the people of Ukraine with a special live-stream fundraiser Saturday, April 9.

Brad Bordessa and Keoki Kahumoku play Saturday, April 9, during the live-stream ‘Ukes for Ukraine fundraiser. (Screenshot from replay video)

‘Ukes for Ukraine featured more than six hours of live music performances and workshops from several world-class ‘ukulele teachers and performers from Hawai‘i, the mainland and Europe aimed at raising funds for disaster relief organization World Central Kitchen, an organization helping people of the besieged Eastern European country that was invaded by Russia in February.

The event, which included a special performance by Herb Ohta Jr. and Jake Shimabukuro, had raised $11,001 by Monday morning.

“We met many goals and kept moving them as we went,” Brad Bordessa, a music instructor from Honoka‘a and organizer of the fundraiser, told Big Island Now in an email.

The team set goals of $1,000, $2,500, $5,000, $7,500 and finally $10,000, and surpassed them all. Donations also are still being accepted.

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“The fundraiser is open until the end of April and I expect a few more donations will roll in over the coming weeks,” Bordessa said.

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All proceeds will go to World Central Kitchen, which is providing warm meals and food supplies for Ukrainian refugees and people stuck on the front lines of the war. Bordessa said the relief organization has served nearly 300,000 meals a day for the past couple of weeks.

Those who donated to the cause showed an impressive amount of generosity.

“I’ve always known that the ʻukulele community are very kind and generous folks, but even so, I’m quite impressed with how they went the extra mile with their contributions to help make this event a success,” Bordessa said.

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Moreover, those who participated in the live-stream fundraiser proved why they are in a class of their own. Bordessa said the team is fortunate, as ʻukulele artists, to have the unconditional support of so many amazing, generous people.

“The artists who volunteered their time to teach and perform — Tobias Elof, Kevin Carroll, Victoria Vox, Neal Chin, Craig Chee, Sarah Maisel and Keoki Kahumoku — are some of the very best in our ʻukulele industry,” he said. “I know most of them personally and have seen their amazing work in the past, but I was still blown away by the thoughtful lessons and insight they shared during their sets. I feel very fortunate to call them friends and peers and humbled that they would answer my call with such enthusiasm to make ʻUkes For Ukraine a world-class offering.”

Bordessa said it’s easy to feel helpless when world events such as what is going on in Ukraine happen, but coming together as a group and pooling resources makes a greater difference.

Herb Ohta Jr. and Jake Shimabukuro play Saturday, April 9, during the ‘Ukes for Ukraine fundraiser. (Screenshot from replay video)

“I’m incredibly happy with how the event turned out and what we were able to achieve,” he said. “Mahalo to every single person who donated to ʻUkes For Ukraine and to everyone around the world contributing and working to help ease the suffering of innocent folks due to this unnecessary aggression.”

Sometimes, people just need an excuse to shine, Bordessa added.

“Believe in the good of humanity, even if it’s hard to see sometimes,” he said. “It’s there.”

Donations are still being accepted. To donate or for more information, click here. A replay of the live-stream fundraiser also can be found on YouTube.

Founded in 2010, World Central Kitchen provides meals in response to humanitarian, climate and community crises while working to build resilient food systems with locally led solutions. For additional information, click here.

Nathan Christophel
Nathan Christophel has more than 20 years of experience in journalism, starting out as a reporter and working his way up to become a copy editor and page designer, most recently at the Hawaii Tribune-Herald in Hilo.
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