Special Olympics seeks donations as it battles deficit

Nancy Bottelo
Nancy Bottelo

By Minna Sugimoto - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) - The annual Tip a Cop fundraiser, which benefits Special Olympics Hawaii, wraps up Thursday night. The organization is suffering financial woes and needs your help more than ever.

Deputy sheriff Mike DeCenzo fills a cup with water and delivers it with a smile. He and other law enforcement officers are waiting tables and raising money for Special Olympics Hawaii.

"What's harder -- waiting tables or catching bad guys?" this reporter asked.

"I tell you what, waiting tables is pretty hard work," DeCenzo replied.

With an annual budget of about $2 million, Special Olympics provides year-round athletic opportunities for more than 2,000 adults and children with intellectual disabilities.

"Everything is free of charge from the uniforms for the athletes, the hotels or the places that we put them up for housing, the meals we feed them, the coaches, all the equipment," Nancy Bottelo, Special Olympics Hawaii president, said.

Going into this year, officials were already preparing for a $50,000 deficit.

They say during tough economic times, they notice donations from individuals actually go up a little.

"When they know they're hurting, they also reach in their pockets and help other people, it seems like, 'cause people in Hawaii are great," Bottelo said.

"But corporations and foundations a lot of times have to cut back," she continued. "They're cutting their budgets, so we see a big decrease in that funding."

Wednesday night, law enforcement officers raised about $7,115 for the organization.

"We try to come out and support it as much as possible," DeCenzo said. "We think it's a good event or good way to give back to the community."

You still have time to enjoy a nice dinner and donate to a good cause. Tip a Cop continues at various Ward Centers restaurants until 9 pm.