Maui residents and businesses filled a 20-foot shipping container in a two-day hana hou Kokua Puna donation drive for evacuees on June 9-10. Donations including non-perishable food, water, camping gear, pet food and baby diapers were packed up to the ceiling of the container. More than 20 volunteers gifted their time, unloading truckloads and carloads of donations all weekend long. In addition to items collected for the container, nearly $3,000 in cash and store gift cards were received.
“Because of the generosity of the people of Maui and with support from Young Brothers Ltd., Quick Tow, A&B, Na‘auao Traffic Control, Maui Gold-Hali‘imaile Distilling Company and Alpha Hawai‘i we are able to send another gift box of aloha to Puna – a very large gift box,” said drive coordinator Mahina Martin.
In Hilo, non-profit Food Basket Hawai‘i will coordinate distribution of donated items to evacuees and front-line community groups that are providing services and support to impacted areas in Puna. “Our partnership with Hilo-based nonprofit Food Basket Hawai‘i is critical,” said Martin. “They have the warehousing, staff and volunteer structure and ability to distribute directly to evacuees and to different support groups on the front-lines of the disaster.”
One of those groups, Hawai‘i Lava Flow Animal Rescue Network told Martin that they were in great need for pet food and supplies. In response, more than 200 cases and large bags of pet food were included in the container along with a large amount of pet supplies.
Martin, along with Zeke Kalua and Tiare Lawrence, recently led two other donation drives: The first drive was for Kaua’i victims of severe flooding, followed soon after with the first Kokua Puna drive. “It’s times like these when the community comes together for something greater than ourselves that makes Maui no ka oi,” Kalua said. “Maui continues to inspire me with the outpouring of support and aloha during this difficult time,” added Lawrence. “Maui definitely knows how to pull together in time of need.”
Photo: Mahina Martin