Pukalani Superette customers give $4,230

Customers of Pukalani Superette donated $4,230 to the Maui Fire Department’s fire alarm and education programs in a special fundraising campaign.

Little fire helmet certificates, signifying donations, dotted the store and the space around the cash registers, said Jerry Masaki, general manager of the supermarket. He estimated that about 2,000 customers made donations to the campaign, held for a two-week period in early March.

The number of donors surprised officials with co-program sponsor Guinness USA, Hawaii Division.

Masaki asked for 2,000 fire helmet certificates but initially was given only 150.

“In one hour, it was gone,” he said.

The store ended up having more printed up. Then, they had the problem of finding a place to put up all the fire helmets, he said.

Officials with Guinness were surprised that an independent store was able to raise so much money from its customers, Masaki said. Pukalani Superette customers gave “chain store” levels of money, he was told by a Guinness official.

Guinness adding another $770 to make the donation to the Fire Department an even $5,000, he said.

Store cashiers also received gift cards for encouraging customers to donate. The three top cashier fundraisers were Lehua Lukeala, Bridget Alfapada and Sara Ferandelli.

On March 19, a check for $5,000 was presented to the Fire Department at the Kahului Fire Station. The money will go to ongoing programs in the schools and for the Smoke Alarm Maui program, where smoke alarms are given away and installed for free.

Paradise Beverage, Maui Division – the Guinness distributor on Maui – also was a sponsor.