For the past nine years, green-clad bocce ball players have taken the field at Mulligans on the Blue in Wailea on a designated morning in mid-March for the annual St. Patrick’s Day-themed Aloha BackPack Buddies Bocce Ball Fundraising Tournament.
The tournament benefits the Maui Food Bank’s Aloha BackPack Buddies program, which provides healthy weekend meals to students from food-insecure homes throughout the academic year. The program serves preschools, elementary, middle and high schools, and UH campuses in Maui County. Since it began in 2012, it has received support from a long list of Realtors Association of Maui (RAM) members, both on and off the bocce ball field.
Under the direction of tournament committee chair Patrick Kilbride, the wildly popular, ultra-festive event typically draws more than 20 cleverly named teams and attracts a large crowd of onlookers. This year, in lieu of a formal, large-scale event, a smaller group of participants competed in a spectator-less, COVID-19-safe bocce ball match at Mulligans on the Blue on March 13.
Among them were RAM members Reggie Audant of Wailea Realty Corp. + Windermere Real Estate, Shannon Cortez of First Hawaii Title, Anne Diola of Makai Mortgage, Ashley Dods of Hawaii Life Real Estate Brokers, Todd Hudson of Keller Williams Realty Maui’s 808 Team, Keri Nicholson of Keller Williams Realty Maui’s Aloha Group, Rob Manning of Homes & Land Magazine, Dave Richardson of Hawaii Life Real Estate Brokers, Kai Schmidt of First Hawaii Title and Lee Wheeler of Keller Williams Realty Maui.
Several RAM members signed up to volunteer that day, including Tom Tezak and Jordan Kamikawa of Wailea Realty Corp. + Windermere Real Estate, who were the tournament sports broadcasters; Bruce McDonald of Coldwell Banker Island Properties, who refereed the match; Clint Hansen, who served as the tournament’s drone pilot and aerial photographer; and Brendan O’Colmain of State Farm Insurance, Kit K. Okazaki Agency, who deejayed the event.
It may have been small, but the scaled-down tournament was certainly mighty: It raised close to $25,000 for Aloha Backpack Buddies. (To date, the annual fundraiser has netted $155,000 for the program.)
Like every other year, the March 13 event delivered plenty of fun and friendly competition. At the end of the day, Wheeler, Audant, Diola, and Schmidt (aka, “The Flying Wombats”) were crowned the 2021 tournament champions.
Food banks nationwide continue to face an unprecedented demand for resources and the Maui Food Bank is no exception. Donations are needed more than ever to help feed children, families, seniors, the homeless—anyone who is at risk of going hungry.
“It meant so much to the Maui Food Bank that amid COVID restrictions, Patrick Kilbride and the bocce ball teams committed to carrying on the 10th Annual Aloha BackPack Buddies Bocce Ball fundraiser,” said Maui Food Bank Development Director Marlene Rice. “Maui Food Bank deeply appreciates and is grateful for the generosity extended to help the hungry in Maui County through this annual event.”
If you’d like to contribute or be a part of next year’s event, mark your calendars: The 11th Annual Aloha BackPack Buddies Bocce Ball Tournament will be held at Mulligans on the Blue on March 12, 2022. To learn more about the tournament, contact Patrick Kilbride at 264-4289 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about the Maui Food Bank or to inquire about donor or volunteer opportunities, visit www.mauifoodbank.org or call 243-9500.
The Maui News – April 26, 2021