We send our heartfelt aloha to all who’ve been affected by these wildfires.
With heavy hearts, watery eyes, our spirits move in waves, going up and down with the updates that come through: deciphering what is – and isn’t – factual information from credible sources; keeping up with press conferences, news alerts, local, national and international news reports and statistics; and personal accounts of unimaginable tragedy.
Seeing the community kōkua one another and the aloha coming in statewide, countrywide and worldwide is inspirational. Each of us wondering what we can do, what we can contribute within our means, our energies, our resources, our contacts and connections.
From day one, we discussed our options for kōkua with our Board Chair, fellow trustees, staff, our CEO and COO. Both what we can do immediately and in the long run.
Hearing the kāhea for kōkua needed at our Hawaiʻi State Capitol, as a team we went, my husband, our baby and I, with boxes of donations. Learning about the need for infant supplies we rounded up baby formula and joined the crews of volunteers, staff and elected officials to physically help sort, organize and box incoming donations.
The generosity was manifested by mountains of goods that filled the rotunda, hallways, chambers, conference rooms and offices. Donations were delivered via vehicles and walk-ups from early morning to late night. The energy was quick and swift. Among the hundreds of volunteers, there was an ever-present flow of breeze, bright lights and aloha.
As an OHA Board, we unanimously voted to authorize the distribution of $5 million in emergency disaster relief funds to kōkua our beneficiaries affected by the wildfires on Maui.
OHA’s many efforts to provide relief due to this devastation include a partnership with Global Empowerment Mission (GEM) to facilitate the distribution of short-term housing vouchers to those displaced by the fires.
In collaboration with Lt. Gov. Sylvia Luke, the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement and Makana O Ke Akua, during this time of crisis OHA is providing it’s 30,000+ sq. ft. warehouse, for use as the Maui Relief Storage Facility, a coordinated management donation center, located at OHA’s Hakuone property at Kaka‘ako Makai.
As OHA ʻohana, our discussions continue in this concerted aid for our Hawaiian community.
One of the special things about Hawaiʻi, is how we care for one another. In times of crisis, in the spirit of aloha, we pool our strengths to work in lōkahi.
Mahalo a nui to all: those on the front lines and in the background; those helping on the sea, in the air and on the ground; those in the community as well as our county, state and federal family; the heroic search and rescue teams and their dogs; and those around the world helping to provide the services and aloha that are greatly needed.
E mau ana ka hoʻopōmaikaʻi o ka Haku.
Ke Akua pū me kākou āpau.