Financially struggling Iolani Palace gets large donation from farmer

Financially struggling Iolani Palace gets large donation from farmer
The check presentation took place on the steps of the palace Tuesday morning. (Source: HNN)

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - A Big Island farmer teamed up with Kamehameha Schools to present a large check to The Friends of Iolani Palace, which has struggled to keep the palace afloat financially during the pandemic.

Kaunamano Farm owner Brandon Lee raises organic Royal Berkshire hogs on Hawaii Island. Through a special promotion, the farm offered to donate $20 from each purchase of locally raised product packages to Iolani Palace.

They raised $5,000 which was matched by Kamehameha Schools. The $10,000 check was presented to Executive Director of the Friends of Iolani Palace Paula Akana Tuesday morning on the steps fronting the palace.

“This was really simple. I wanted to sell sausage like we did for little league. Three for $20. So we did that, and now we’re here to present a big check to Iolani palace,” Kaunamano Farm co-founder Brandon Lee said.

It was all a part of his “Eat With Impact” campaign. He referenced the song Hawaii ‘78 in expressing the pride he has in being able to help the palace.

“How would the kings and queen feel? I think today, their smiles are content. They look all over the islands and they looking for something to smile at and today here at Iolani Palace, a small big island pig farmer flew over to help patch the roof maybe — but really to get the message out that Iolani belongs higher up on the priority scale,” Lee added.

The funds will go towards ongoing maintenance of the Palace, its collections and other operations.

Iolani Palace has put out several pleas to the public for support. Revenues dropped significantly when the pandemic set in and tours stopped.

Akana previously said the palace was losing about $80,000 a month.

Lawmakers were considering a bill that would allocate $750,000 to the palace from tax revenues.

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