Eruption relief on the menu: Restaurant raising funds for Puna residents

  • LAURA RUMINSKI/West Hawaii Today

    Customers enjoy lunch at Umekes Fishmarket Bar and Grill.

KAILUA-KONA — Umekes Fishmarket Bar and Grill is opening its mic to the public this week, and asking the public to open its arms and wallets to Puna in return.

The restaurant will host a fundraiser for people impacted by the Kilauea volcano eruption from 5-9 p.m. today in its Paina Room, located next door to the main restaurant on the corner of Kuakini Highway and Kaiwi Street.

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The event will include a silent auction and happy hour pricing on food and drink for the duration. Umekes will pair the fundraising effort with the restaurant’s open mic night to provide an element of free entertainment, which is likely to be mostly music with a few spoken word performances mixed in.

All the profits from the event will go directly to Pu‘uhonua O Puna, a charitable hub conducting various forms of outreach to those displaced and disoriented by the Kilauea eruption.

“We chose to donate it to them because 100 percent of the donations will go to people who need it instead of going to fund the organization,” said Tina Fear, public relations and event coordinator for Umekes. “No one gets a cut out of it. (Everything) will go to volcano evacuees and people who have lost their homes.”

Silent auction items will include an island tour for two donated by Sunshine Helicopters, Waipio Ride the Rim ATV tours, memberships at Pacific Island Fitness and a round of golf for two at Makalei Golf Club, among several others.

Businesses that wish to donate auction items can do so by contacting Umekes.

The Paina Room, with a capacity of around 100 people, will also function as a donation center. Fear said camping and outdoor gear as well as non-perishable food items are some of the most needed supplies, but all donations are welcome.

People may donate at the Paina Room during Wednesday’s event or at the main restaurant any time from now until the fundraiser begins.

“It’s very important for the community to come together and support one another because of the recent volcanic activity,” Fear said of the motivation behind the fundraiser. “It’s affected so many people. So many people have been displaced, left with only the clothes on their backs. It will make it that much more bearable for them with the support of others.”

Email Max Dible at mdible@westhawaiitoday.com

Sam Choy’s also donating

Sam Choy’s Kai Lanai in Kailua-Kona is implementing a “Dine Out to Help Out” initiative to raise money for those impacted by the eruption. Sam Choy’s will partner with the Salvation Army Corps of Hawaii, where 100 percent of all funds raised will directly benefit the disaster relief fund serving those affected by the volcano.

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“The team at Sam Choy’s Kai Lanai is excited to work with the Salvation Army to bring aid to our friends and neighbors who have been so severely impacted by the volcano and the devastating lava flows. We hope all area restaurants will join us in this “Dine Out to Help Out” initiative,” said Kaui Sakai, bar manager.

Beginning today and running through Sept. 25, Sam Choy’s will offer a unique menu item every Tuesday, where all of the sales from that item will be donated to The Salvation Army. A check will be written to the Hawaiian Salvation Army Corp every week for that Tuesday’s sales.