Kohala Coast Resort Association (KCRA) Awarded $900,000 Grant
Hawai‘i Island Hospitality Workers Receive Food Aid
The Kohala Coast Resort Association (KCRA) was awarded $900,000 in federal coronavirus relief funds from the County of Hawai‘i to distribute much needed food packages to nearly 5,000 furloughed employees in the hospitality industry who are represented by KCRA. The food assistance will be offered twice a month from September through November 2020 and includes two dinners to feed a family of four, along with pantry staples sourced from local farmers.
“This funding will be directed to our new Kokua for our Ohana program to offer comprehensive food assistance to thousands of hospitality workers and their families throughout Hawai‘i Island who’ve been hard hit by the pandemic and who wouldn’t otherwise be eligible to receive these funds,” says KCRA Administrative Director, Stephanie Donoho. “We plan on purchasing produce from an extensive community of local farmers, ranches, fisheries and food industry suppliers to allow this federal funding to benefit the entire local community, multiplying the benefits of the funds beyond fulfilling immediate food security needs. It also provides continuity in established purchasing and distribution networks until the visitor industry can fully reopen.”
KCRA members include Mauna Kea Resort (Mauna Kea Beach Hotel and The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort), Mauna Lani Resort (Auberge Mauna Lani and Fairmont Orchid), Waikoloa Resort (Hilton Grand Vacations, Hilton Waikoloa Village and Waikoloa Beach Marriott), and Hualalai Resort (Four Seasons Resort). The Kokua for our Ohana program builds upon diverse initiatives KCRA members have been spearheading to support its furloughed employees since the pandemic began.
“It’s our kuleana (responsibility) to care for our colleagues in the same way we look after our guests,” says Fairmont Orchid General Manager, Charles Head. “We took a road-trip around the island to deliver care packages to our colleagues, we hosted complimentary, curbside dinners for our team and our property’s ownership covered health insurance costs for the five-month period in which hotel operations were suspended. This food distribution program is a continuation of our efforts to support our colleagues and their ‘ohana. And we’re thrilled that an estimated 20,000 Hawai‘i Island residents may benefit from this effort, as the food bundles are designed to feed entire families.
The Kohala Coast unemployment rate represents nearly one quarter of Hawai‘i Island’s total unemployed workforce of 20,650, as of May 2020. From April through August 2020, KCRA members participated in food support programs for their team members, utilizing more than $1,013,000 in corporate contributions, donations from resort homeowners associations, contributions from resort owners, and community partnerships with farmers, food suppliers, locally owned restaurants and local foundations.
“The monthly face-to-face connection has allowed our resort, and others, to check in with team members, answer questions, and share the latest updates,” said Mauna Kea Resort Vice President of Operations, Craig Anderson. “We are grateful to KCRA for successfully applying for additional CARES Act funding via the County of Hawai‘i so that we can continue this important outreach and food assistance to our valued employees during this unprecedented pandemic.”
KCRA also extended an invitation to employees of the Shops at Mauna Lani, Kings’ Shops Waikoloa Resort and Queens’ Marketplace to partake in the Kokua for our Ohana program.
“An upwards of 200 employees who work in the small businesses and independent restaurants throughout our shopping center have been impacted as a result of the pandemic,” Kings’ Shops Waikoloa Resort General Manager, Lynn Rostau. “These employees are so thankful to be recipients of this grant, as it will allow them an additional means to provide for their families during this difficult time.”
KCRA is committed to ensuring that 100% of the grant money goes directly towards the food purchases for the Kokua for our Ohana program. All program administration costs valued at $75,000 are being donated in-kind by KCRA members.
About Kohala Coast Resort Association
Kohala Coast Resort Association (KCRA) is a collection of master-planned resorts and hotels situated north of the Kona International Airport and represents more than 3,500 hotel and timeshare accommodations and an equal number of resort residential units. This is approximately 35 percent of the accommodations available on the island. KCRA members annually pay more than $20 million in TAT, $20 million in GET and $11 million in property taxes. KCRA members employ approximately 5,000 Hawai‘i Island residents.
Learn more at www.kohalacoastresorts.com/.