A community-driven collection drive to assist evacuated residents of Puna on Hawai'i Island, displaced by conditions caused by ongoing Kilauea eruptions, took place on Saturday and Sunday. Working in coordination with Hilo-based non-profit Food Basket Hawaii, Inc., organizers say donations most needed are new items that can support evacuees who are without indoor living accommodations, like tarps, tents, flashlights with batteries, small to medium coolers, sleeping bags, camping gear, cell phone battery chargers.
"Thanks to the generosity of Goodfellow Bros, Inc, who has offered to pay the entire shipping cost for a container of donated items to go to Hawai'i Island, help from Maui Tow and Transport for ground transportation of the container, and valuable support from Hawaiian Airlines and A&B – we are able to conduct another community drive, this time for the people of Puna", said co-organizer Mahina Martin.
In order to help meet immediate needs, a portion of the items will be flown to Hilo next week with support from Hawaiian Airlines, with the remainder shipped via Young Brothers cargo.
"Just a few weeks ago, Maui helped Kaua'i in its time of need, and now that Puna needs kokua, we're happy to do what we can," said Tiare Lawrence, one of three organizers in the Kokua Puna drive. "We know that if Maui was in distress, other islands would be there to do what they could to offer support," added drive co-organizer Zeke Kalua.
The trio of organizers just completed a spontaneous collection drive to assist in recovery efforts in Kauai's devastating flooding disaster, before responding to requests from community members to lead a second drive for Puna.