This year has been rough for some of our neighbor islands. We watched from afar as Kaua‘i went underwater and Big Island residents scattered in the wake of a lava flow, and all is not yet right. As people begin to face the damage and repair their homes and lives, Maui residents have a tangible way of contributing through an evening of food from top Maui chefs, served alongside entertainment.
Project Kokua will happen on Sunday, July 8 from 5:30pm-8:30pm at Maui Tropical Plantation on the Grand View Lawn. Admission will be $60 per person, and includes food, entertainment and a silent auction with all proceeds going towards relief efforts.
The price of admission includes chef tasting stations from over 20 Maui chefs, including Lyndon Honda, one of the minds behind Project Kokua. The lineup is a who’s who of Maui standouts, including Jeff Scheer of The Mill House, Travis, Cody and Jaron from Three’s Bar & Grill and Fork & Salad, Charles Andres from Humble Market Kitchin, and Ikaika Manaku of The Westin NaNea Ocean Villas amongst many other names.
Entertainment will be provided by Halemanu, who won a Na Hoku Hanohano Award this year for Island Music Album of the year. Event attendees will be treated to a music fusion of Hawaiian, rock, jazz, funk, and world music.
Project Kokua is the brainchild of Chef Lyndon Honda, the executive chef at Sheraton Maui, Halemanu, and Lisa Villiarimo, who owns The Aloha Lifestyle, a food and lifestyle consulting company. Proceeds will be distributed through the Rotary Lahaina Foundation along with Malama Kaua‘i and Rotary Club of Pahoa. There are other ways of contributing if you are so inclined: you can share the event on social media to spread the word, donate a gift for the silent auction by contacting Gabi Masuda (email@example.com), become an event sponsor, or donate money.
“Hawai‘i is a unique place – though not connected by land, we are connected in our aloha, our desire to help one another and our way of life,” said Honda. “In a time like this, we all come together to kokua where we are able.”
As Kaua‘i and Hawai‘i island emerge from the debris of natural disasters, they face major recovery efforts. After getting swamped with historic floods for two months, Kaua‘i is just beginning to face the damage to homes, highways, schools, and the entire community. Recovery efforts are focused on getting roads repaired and getting residents back in their homes. On the Big Island, we all watched as fissures and flows destroyed hundreds of homes and left more than 2,800 residents without a place to live. In addition to residences, papaya and flower farms and vacation rentals went under the flow, which will cause lasting economic impact.
It’s hard to know how to support people through such devastation, but Project Kokua is a solid option that symbolizes the coming together of Hawai‘i’s residents to help our neighbors.
Tickets can be purchased via Eventbrite. Parking is free.
Photo 1: Lisa Villiarimo
Photo 2: Project Kokua
Photo 3: Millisa Chang
Photo 4: Project Kokua