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Winner of KAPA Slippah Hunt anonymously donates cash prize to Big Island Giving Tree

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Over the air Monday morning, KAPA DJ Darde Gamayo excitedly announced that the winners of West Hawai‘i’s Slippah Hunt contest decided to anonymously donate the $1,000 cash prize to Big Island Giving Tree.

On Monday, Big Island Giving Tree co-coordinator Rhonda Bell (left) and KAPA DJ Darde Gamayo (right) talk about the prize money from the KAPA Slippah Hunt contest being anonymously donated to the nonprofit’s kupuna program. Photo credit: Tiffany DeMasters/Big Island Now

“I’ve always said we’ve got the best listeners in the world and this proves it,” Gamayo said.

More than $2,000 in cash and prizes were on the line for whoever found the two hidden slippers: one in Hilo and the other in North Kona. The hunt continued for about six weeks with KAPA DJs periodically providing clues to their listeners.

These clues to the slippers’ locations, about 29 of them, were written in riddles.

On Nov. 8, Mahana Ka‘awa and ʻohana found the East Hawai‘i slipper at the Kaumana Cave under a monstera leaf in the pavilion.

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A few days later, the West Hawai‘i slipper was found at the north end of the Kīholo Bay scenic lookout in the grass. But as far as Gamayo knows, this was the first time the prize money was mailed back to KAPA.

The package arrived at the KAPA studio in Hilo on Thursday with a letter from the anonymous winners who signed it “2 faithful listeners from Waimea.” The letter said: “Great job! Great clues! It was fun! We don’t want the prizes. If possible, we’d want the cash donated to Big Island Giving Tree to be used for their kūpuna program.”

The Slippah Hunt also offered Minit Stop gift cards of $100 in gas, a $125 gift card to Kona Grill House, a one-night stay at Mauna Kea Beach Resort and a $200 gift card for car detailing services at Gloss Mastering.

The letter continued: “The other prizes should, in our opinion, go to the amazing DJs that work for KAPA.”

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On Monday, Gamayo was joined in the Kona studio by Rhonda Bell, co-coordinator with the Big Island Giving Tree. At the wishes of the two faithful KAPA listeners, Gamayo said the prize money will go toward the Big Island Giving Tree’s kūpuna program.

The nonprofit volunteer organization serves Hawai‘i Island’s kūpuna, houseless and keiki who are experiencing unforeseen circumstances. The donation will help pay for meals the nonprofit hands out to the elderly and homeless in West Hawai‘i on Christmas Day.

“On Christmas, a lot of our kūpuna are lonely,” Bell said, explaining their families usually are on the mainland. “They look forward to us coming.”

When Gamayo called Bell last week to give her the news about the donation, she was shocked.

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With the rise in food prices, Bell said every penny counts. Last year, the nonprofit spent $4,000 on food for the meals. This year, Bell anticipates spending $6,000 to $7,000.

For more information on Big Island Giving Tree, click here.

KAPA and Big Island Now are both entities of Pacific Media Group.

Tiffany DeMasters
Tiffany DeMasters is a reporter for Big Island Now. Tiffany worked as the cops and courts reporter for West Hawaii Today from 2017 to 2019. She also contributed stories to Ke Ola Magazine and Honolulu Civil Beat.
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