Kokua Puna Donation Drive Launched on Maui to Aid Hawai’i Island Evacuees

A community-driven collection drive to assist evacuated residents of Puna on Hawai’i Island, displaced by conditions caused by ongoing Kilauea eruptions, will take place on Saturday and Sunday.

Working in coordination with Hilo-based non-profit Food Basket Hawaii, Inc., donations most urgently needed are items that can support evacuees who are without indoor living accommodations. Items are requested to be in new condition. Urgent items needed are tarps, tents, respirator masks, flashlights with batteries, small to medium coolers, sleeping bags, camping gear, and cell phone battery chargers.

Maui’s Kokua Puna drive to collect donated items will take place Saturday, May 12 and Sunday, May 13 from 10:00 am – 4:00 pm in the parking lot of Kahului Shopping Center. “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 barge in a 20 ft. container.

Other items that will be accepted are baby wipes and diapers, bug spray, pop-up tents, gallon-sized zip lock bags, personal hygiene items, 5 gallons bottled water, and hand sanitizers. Because large amounts of food donations are being received from Hawai’i Island restaurants, organizations and residents, the Maui donation drive will not be soliciting non-perishable food items.

No used clothing will be accepted and all donations should be new to avoid the need for laundering or examining the condition of items before distributing.

“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.

“Puna’s needs are urgent and we hope that Maui will come forward to help. We ask that donations meet the list of items we received from the people of Puna and that all items are in new condition. We realize it’s a busy weekend for Maui with many other large events going on and we’re hoping that our community will be able to give its support to Puna with folks purchasing even one item from the list and dropping it off at our collection site where it will be loaded into a shipping container,” Martin said.

The trio of organizers had 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.

Volunteers to load donations into the container on Saturday and Sunday are needed.

For more information or to volunteer contact 276-7685, 385-1221, or 280-9111.



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