Denise Yamauchi

Photo from Denise Yamauchi

Photo from Denise Yamauchi

Helping out families in need just got a little easier thanks to Burger King Hawaii and its partnership with Aloha United Way.

This is the second year the two organizations have joined forces to help the community give back to those less fortunate.

Customers ordering food at Burger King (register or drive-thru) can contribute a monetary gift of any size.

Funds will go toward a Christmas gift for children through The Salvation Army’s Angel Tree Program.

Burger King Hawaii and Aloha United Way will process the donations on a weekly basis and match them to a request gift in the Angel Tree Program.

Signs already are up at Burger King Hawaii locations across the state urging customers to: “Give to make holiday wishes come true for a child in need.”

Last year, the effort raised almost $9,000 (approximately 300 gifts) and this year there are hopes to exceed that.

“We just want to give back to the community,” says Denise Yamauchi, Kazi Restaurants of Hawaii managing director, who also spearheaded the effort last year. “Aloha United Way and Salvation Army will do the hard work, which is going out and purchasing.” (Kazi Restaurants of Hawaii Inc. owns 24 Burger King restaurants in Hawaii.) Yamauchi was able to see donations from last year’s fundraiser and admits it was a surreal experience.

“This is a hard time for many people, and they’re asking for simple things,” she adds. “It’s nice to make a difference, and it’s easy for us and it’s easy for our guests to make a difference because (the act) is so simple.”

Customers who donate receive a small Christmas tree-shaped tag to sign, and all tags will be displayed on Burger Kings’ walls.

“It can be any amount they want to give,” she explains, “even if it’s just their change from their order. No amount is too big or too small.”

While donations will go toward the purchase of toys for keiki, sometimes children ask for basic necessities like school supplies, backpacks and toiletries.

According to Yamauchi, all funds and gifts will go to recipients on the island on which it was collected. Of the 32 Burger King restaurants in Hawaii, 21 are on Oahu.

For more information on the effort, visit, or call 988-2136.