WAILUKU - The Maui Hotel & Lodging Association (MHLA) distributed 25,000 pounds of rice throughout Maui County in November and December.
The annual "Rice for the Holidays" program began in 2008, when MHLA partnered with Jim Coon of Trilogy Excursions in its annual giveaway of turkeys to the residents of Lanai by adding a five-pound bag of rice with the turkey.
Since then, the program has expanded to provide rice for food distribution on Maui and Molokai. In 2011, Hana was added to the campaign.
From left, Randy Coon of Trilogy, Gov. Neil Abercrombie, Lisa Paulson of the Maui Hotel & Lodging Association and Jim Coon of Trilogy distribute food on Lanai.
The rice was distributed on Lanai on Nov. 23 and Molokai and Hana on Dec. 7. On Maui, the rice is being distributed through Feed My Sheep.
This year on Lanai, Gov. Neil Abercrombie visited and helped with the food distribution.
MHLA partners with many of its members to make this food distribution possible, including Costco Wholesale, Young Brothers and Island Movers.
"This annual food distribution would not be possible without the support of our members." said Lisa Paulson, MHLA executive director.
"Maui's visitor industry is a big believer in taking care of the community in which we all live."
The Maui Hotel & Lodging Association is a nonprofit organization founded in 1987 to advocate for the visitor industry.
MHLA also provides educational opportunities and scholarships, and gives back to the community through the annual Visitor Industry Charity Walk, Excellence in Education golf tournament and Kupuna Dinner.
For information, call MHLA at 244-8625.