Charity Walk Marks Its 33rd Year

Mufi Hannemann
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May 04, 2011 | Hawaiian Airlines Discount Share

Visitor industry employees serve food to hungry walkers. Last year’s event drew more than 9,000 participants and raised nearly $1 million for local charities. Great food and entertainment, all for a great cause, are staples of the annual Charity Walk. Photos from Mufi Hannemann

Our island people never fail to respond - and respond generously - in times of need. With the condition of our economy and state cutbacks in social service spending only adding to the burdens now being borne by Hawaii’s charitable organizations, our visitor industry is responding to the challenge through the annual Charity Walk in May.

Now celebrating its 33rd year, the Visitor Industry Charity Walk is sponsored by the Hawaii Hotel & Lodging Association, in partnership with the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, Oceanic Time Warner Cable and KCCN FM100.

The money raised - now amounting to nearly $1 million a year and $22 million since the event’s inception - is donated to scores of local charities to support their good deeds. Money raised on an island goes to charities on that island. It’s become the largest single-day fundraiser in the entire state.

Kelvin Bloom, president of Aston Hotels & Resorts, is chairman for the 2011 Charity Walk, and he and I are drumming up statewide support for this very worthy cause.

There will be three events on consecutive Saturdays, all with the theme of “Put Your Best Slippah Forward”:

May 7, Molokai

May 14, Big Island, Maui and Kauai

May 21, Oahu

On Oahu, the walk begins at 7 a.m. at Ala Moana Beach Park’s McCoy Pavilion, with 16 checkpoints along a 6-mile route that circles Waikiki. The event features a buffet line of food, entertainment and treats. Finishers will be treated to a plate lunch from Sheraton Hotels and entertainment by Ike Pono and Hawaiian Slice. The minimum donation on Oahu is $35 for adults and $25 for those under age 18.

The Charity Walk is open to all - friends, family, neighbors and anyone with a love for Hawaii is welcome to participate.

Information and entry forms are available from participating lodging properties and companies, by visiting, or by calling the Hawaii Hotel & Lodging Association at 923-0407.

The members of the travel industry are actively engaged in supporting our friends and neighbors across the state through community service, civic involvement and support for charities - and the Visitor Industry Charity Walk is a shining example of that aloha spirit in action.


Chizuru Burmeister

Position: Hostess

Location: Front Office Agent

Employment: Aston Waikiki Beach Tower

She’s the embodiment of the aloha spirit: Chizuru Burmeister, an employee of the Aston Waikiki Beach Tower, was recently named Front Office Person of the Year by the Hawaii Hotel & Lodging Association.

Chizuru, “Chizu” to her fellow staffers, has been with Aston for five years. She’s made a huge impression on guests during that time, going out of her way to provide hospitality and service that have earned her countless plaudits from guests and awards from the hotel and parent company.

One Christmas, she personally searched for a dis-oriented elderly guest who had become separated from his family during holiday festivities. Chizu decided to conduct her own search and by some miracle found the man in the Ward Avenue area and reunited him with his loved ones.

Repeat guests make it a point to call her directly with their reservation requests, knowing she’ll make them feel at home.

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