Governor among those attending MEO Gala fundraiser

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May 3, 2022

More than 250 attendees of Maui Economic Opportunity’s “We are ‘Ohana” Gala fundraiser, which included Gov. David Ige, enjoyed a night of Hawaiian music and entertainment by Jeff Peterson and Amy Hānaiali‘i and learned about the breadth of the nonprofit agency’s reach.

The amount raised from sponsorships, drawings and the live auction at the April 30 event exceeded goals, said MEO CEO Debbie Cabebe.

“We are so thankful for the generous support of the community,” said Cabebe. “The funds raised will help us fill the gaps between grants and any shortfalls and enhance our efforts to help those in need in Maui County through our more than 40 programs.”

Peterson, a Grammy and Na Hoku Hanohano award winning slack key virtuoso, and Hānaiali‘i, a Grammy nominated and Na Hoku winning singer/entertainer, filled the King Kamehameha Golf Club in Waikapu with their music. Kathy Collins served as emcee, and Rod Antone drove the live auction and Raise the Paddle giving.

In addition to the entertainment, the audience heard about the mission of MEO – “to strengthen the community while helping people in need restore their hope, reach their potential and enrich their lives” – and success stories of those who went on to improve their lives after receiving help from MEO.

Mitchell and Cynthia Catugal faced the possibility of homelessness after losing the unit they had rented for about a decade. MEO provided rental assistance for their new place, and today they are owners of that unit.

Caelyn Taibemal will be graduating from Maui High this month after six years in the MEO Youth Services bullying, suicide, alcohol and drug prevention program, picking up leadership skills and learning the value of community service. She plans to attend UH-Maui College in the fall.

Those in attendance included Ige, who joined MEO’s first Gala in 2018, Mayor Michael Victorino, Maui County Council Chair Alice Lee and MEO Board President Bard Peterson, who all provided short remarks.

A photo gallery appears on the MEO website at and Facebook page with more photos to appear during the week.

MEO thanks its sponsors and donors for drawing prizes and live auction items.

The sponsors:

– Sustainer – Atlas Insurance Agency.

– Advocate – Alexander & Baldwin, Inc., Bayer, First Hawaiian Bank, Hawaii Petroleum, Inc., Highridge Costa, ILWU Local 142, Maui Health Foundation, Maui Soda & Ice Works.

– Supporter – Aloha Care, Bank of Hawaii, Employers Options, Equitable, Goodfellow Bros, Inc., Hale Mahaolu, Hawaiian Electric, IBEW, Local 1186, Mahi Pono, Service Rentals, Soderholm Sales & Leasing, Torkildson Katz, Hetherington Harris & Knorek.

– ‘Ohana – Ecolane, Hogan Financial, Maui Economic Development Board, Munekiyo Hiraga, Pacific Media Group, Skog Rasmussen.

– Venue – Lloyd and Sharon Sodetani.

– Donors – Central Pacific Bank, HEMIC, Marmac Ace Hardware, Whaler Associates.

Contributors to the drawings and silent auction follow: Southwest Airlines, California Hotel & Casino, Hana Maui Resort, Four Seasons Resort Maui, Ko Restaurant, The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua, Cane & Canoe, Alii Kula Lavender, Flatbread Pizza Co., Gazebo Restaurant, Island Art Party, Joel’s Food Truck, Ka‘anapali Beach Hotel, Ka‘anapali Golf Courses, Leoda’s Pie Shop, Mama’s Fish House, Maui Dive Shop/Alii Nui, Maui Golf & Sports Shop, Maui Jim Sunglasses; Maui Specialty Chocolates, Monkeypod Kitchen, The Old Lahaina Luau, Roy’s Ka‘anapali, Star Noodle, The Maui Cookie Lady, Tin Roof, Wailea Golf Club and Ka Uakea Legacy.

Photo Credit: Rep. Troy Hashimoto

Amy Hānaiali‘i and Jeff Peterson perform at the Maui Economic Opportunity “We are ‘Ohana” Gala fundraiser April 30 at the King Kamehameha Golf Club.

Maui Economic Opportunity CEO Debbie Cabebe takes a photo with Gov. David Ige, who attended the MEO “We are ‘Ohana” Gala fundraiser April 30 at the King Kamehameha Golf Club. Ige attended the first MEO Gala in 2018.

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