Maui residents came together over the weekend to fill a shipping container with items that are most needed by Kaua‘i residents following the recent flooding disaster; the most-needed items identified by Kaua‘i residents included rubber boots, first aid kits, tarps, shovels, non-perishable food, cleaning supplies, chainsaws, water and baby items.
A trio of community organizers–Zeke Kalua, Tiare Lawrence and Mahina Martin–rallied the community and in a two-day weekend effort, they collected more than 2,000 items. Donated gift cards were also accepted for stores on Kaua‘i; more than $2,200 in gift cards were donated, including a surprise $1,000 gift card from Maui family-owned business Maui Babe Tanning Lotion. Walk up cash contributions for the Kaua‘i-based nonprofit Malama Kaua‘i totaled $1,150.
The organizers, who combined their efforts towards one community drive instead of three separate ones, quickly discovered that there was wide-spread interest for Maui to do something to help with the disaster recovery. “It took us a couple of days to organize the community drive, we thought it might be quite a scramble to get it all together, but there was so much enthusiasm to go forward, so we just did,” said co-organizer Mahina Martin.
With support from businesses such as Alpha Inc., Goodfellow Bros., Alexander & Baldwin, Quick Tow and Maui’s different car and truck clubs, the filled container of donated items will ship to Kaua‘i on April 24 and then delivered to the Malama Kaua‘i for distribution.
“Mahalo, Maui Nui, for your kokua in Kaua‘i’s time of need,” said co-organizer Kalua. “We are truly blessed by the incredible support and aloha from our community, so many came forward and gave what they could to help make a difference.”
Co-organizer Lawrence said the effort reminded her of how proud she is to be from Maui. “Helping to organize the drive was the least I could do to support flood relief efforts,” Lawrence said. “My heart goes out to Kaua‘i and all of the families affected by the flood.”
“Even before we could open the shipping container doors each morning, there were people waiting to contribute items for Kaua‘i folks,” Martin said. “Such an amazing response by our Maui community and nearly every person would say that this is Hawai‘i and other islands would do the same if Maui was in need. For two days, seniors, teens, families, businesses came and contributed–some would come with a few items and others would have a truck load, it all mattered. The shipping container is like a big gift box filled with Maui’s aloha.”
Photo courtesy of Mahina Martin