Maui’s Thanksgiving Day Paddle For Hunger
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What we know today as “Paddle for Hunger” was originally an OC1 time trial for Malama Ula Canoe Club (Wailea Canoe Club) in 2000. Over the years, paddlers from other clubs joined in, including OC2’s and OC6’s. In 2002, Al Duarte suggested paddlers bring canned food that could be donated to Maui Food Bank and the Turkey Trot was formed. The event grew exponentially and in 2007, it officially became a fundraiser for Maui Food Bank. Since 2009 the event has brought in more than $10,300 in cash donations. In the years 2012-2014, it brought in 3,062 pounds of food.
Over the years, volunteers from Maui Paddling Hui (formerly known as Maui Canoe and Kayak Club) organized the race ensuring it would happen every year. Past organizers include: Peter Konohia, Don and Keri Meihling, Rob Phillips, Sharron and Ricky Balidoy, Tim Lara, and Tyson Kubo. Most years it was a “non-event” group of friends paddling together since there was no permit or insurance.
Since 2012, Hawaiian Paddle Sports has supported Paddle for Hunger as part of its monthly Malama Maui give back program, supporting Maui Food Bank as our chosen December nonprofit. In 2015, Hawaiian Paddle Sports stepped up to organize the event, securing water safety, permits, insurance, silent auction items, and door prizes. In 2017, with the help of Maui’s generous community and paddling ohana, Hawaiian Paddle Sports raised more than $10,000 and 1,000 pounds of food for Maui Food Bank, enough to provide 42,000 meals for needy families in Maui County.
To learn more about Hawaiian Paddle Sports’ mission, values, and community give back program, visit our About Us page.