Fans of craft beer form a community around our shared passion and enjoyment of those glorious liquids. One of the most active forums for the community in Hawaii is the HI Beer Friends Facebook group. Boasting almost 1,000 members across the islands and beyond, it’s become a place to share photos and events, ask for help in locating desired beer, and finding recommendations for people visiting or traveling. It’s always a pleasure to meet people in person for the first time and share a beer together.
During this time of year that many of us enjoy gifts, food, and too many drinks, it’s always important to stop and reflect on those who aren’t as lucky. One of the group’s prolific members Kalahikiola (Chad) Kaukani works with a local non-profit on Oahu called RYSE, or Residential Youth Services and Empowerment. From their website: “Residential Youth Services & Empowerment (RYSE) will provide a 24/7 access center to help give Hawaii’s homeless youth a brighter future. At RYSE, 18-24 year-olds who are currently on the street can have access to a safe temporary living space specifically designed to address their unique needs.” Seeing a call for donations, group admin Colin Luo brought the charity’s request to Darin & Kelli Yamashita who had been looking for a beneficiary for a giveaway during the holiday season. They then organized a charity beer raffle, starting with a few rare and delicious bottles and cans.
In all 20 different prize bundles were donated by group members, with many more entering at $5 an entry, or 5 for $20. In the end, the group raised over $1,800.00, 100% of which was donated to RYSE in the form of items they needed. The proceeds were used to purchase 50 reusable water bottles, 50 movie tickets, 50 backpacks of various styles and sizes, and books. Colin Luo purchased most of the items, with Justin Udom assisting with the backpacks. Everything was then hand delivered to the organization.
To add excitement to the drawing, it was performed live at Hana Koa Brewing Co. on Monday, December 23, 2019, where lucky individuals from the group got to take home an extra holiday treat! For group members that couldn’t make it, it was streamed on Facebook Live.
To learn more about RYSE and make a donation, check out their website. If you’re on Facebook, please join us in the free group at HI Beer Friends; guaranteed you’ll make friends and learn more about local beer!
On a personal note, mahalo for reading all year. Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Holidays, and Cheers to new beers!