KAILUA-KONA — West Hawaii residents jumped into action when their Puna neighbors were forced from their homes in the wake of recent lava eruptions. There was no question or hesitation.
Several businesses in Kailua-Kona are acting as donation sites, where people can drop off items needed in the area. Truckloads of donations have been delivered to Puna residents since the first eruption May 3 in Leilani Estates.
One of the businesses collecting donations is Lex Brodie’s Fast Lube. Manager Joe Foglia said the business got involved because it was the right thing to do. So far, it has collected and delivered three pallets of goods.
“We’ll continue to do it until it’s no longer required and people can go home,” Foglia said.
Friends also are coming together to help make a difference. Grace Emanuel, Cherie LiGriffore and a few others got together to help collect donations for Puna residents impacted by the eruption.
“There’s a core of us that you know will be at the forefront ready to go,” Emanuel said. “It’s fulfilling. If you don’t do it, who will?”
LiGriffore, employed at Kona Coffee and Tea, said it’s a grassroots effort.
Emanuel and her friends conducted a donation drive at Old Kona Airport Park a couple of weeks ago. Kona Trans assisted in providing a vehicle and driver to deliver what was collected to Puna.
Emanuel said they plan to continue their efforts.
“We don’t plan on stopping anytime soon,” she said. “You know, just trying to do something good.”
Donations are being accepted at Kona Coffee and Tea, 74-5588 Palani Road, and One Aloha Shave Ice, 75-5711 Kuakini Highway.
An online fundraiser also was created.
This past weekend, Amanda Trusty, artistic director for Kona Dance and Performing Arts, and Brittany Horn, co-owner of Pacific Coffee Research, used $1,600 from their online fundraiser to deliver supplies to the Pahoa evacuation shelter and the grassroots group Puuhonua o Puna. The women plan to deliver more donations as well as drop off a continental breakfast to feed 350 shelter victims this weekend.
Trusty said those assisting the community will continue to notify them of what is needed each day. To donate to the online fundraiser, visit www.youcaring.com/pahoaemergencyshelters-1182589
Trusty said donations will be collected until noon today in time for their Saturday delivery trip. However, items can still be dropped off all day at the dance studio, located at 81-973 Halekii St. in Kealakekua.
Currently, Trusty said the easiest way to help is to donate to the online fundraiser, as they now have direct contact with several officials at the shelters who are in charge of meals, activities, entertainment, etc.
For more information, contact Trusty at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Email Tiffany DeMasters at email@example.com.