Full Life, a Hawaii Island nonprofit dedicated to helping people with developmental disabilities lead happy, productive and self-directed lives, recently provided dozens of clients with a disaster preparedness kit amid the threat of Hurricane Douglas, which skirted the state at the end of July.
The organization received a $2,500 Hawaii Island United Way 2020 Eleu Grant to purchase kit essentials — including jugs of water, a 14-day supply of nonperishable food, a can opener, a first-aid kit, a radio, a flashlight, batteries, soap, toilet paper, masks, sunscreen, a whistle and other toiletries — for 47 people with developmental disabilities on Hawaii Island.
“This is significant because most of these beneficiaries cannot afford these extra supplies for emergencies,” said Denise Lindsey, Full Life executive and public relations assistant. “We are also assured they will have what is needed in case of an emergency.”
Lindsey said participants were called to come to the office locations in Kona or Hilo and pick up the kits.
“Our participants were elated with joy to receive something, and they were quite curious to know what was inside the bag,” she said. “The parents also were grateful for the emergency preparedness kits for their loved one, especially since Hurricane Douglas was knocking on Hawaii’s door.”
A smaller portion of the funds was spent on two months of video and messaging software. This allowed Full Life program coordinators to check on several people with developmental disabilities remotely in order to limit face-to-face contact during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Furthermore, Lindsey said, Full Life used its Zoom licenses to offer virtual activities so people with developmental disabilities can stay connected with each other during the time via weekly fitness, art and music classes and weekly movie socials.
“All of our virtual classes are social time for our participants,” Lindsey said. “They extremely look forward to seeing their friends. They literally try and jump through the TV screen to see each other; it’s so wonderful to watch their eyes light up.”
Lindsey said the partnership with Hawaii Island United Way ensured people who need emergency kits will have them. Every person Full Life serves now has an emergency kit as recommended by the state Department of Health.
“When Full Life contacted all of our participants for the emergency preparedness kits, the reaction from the family members and caregivers was amazing! They really thanked us for thinking about their loved ones’ needs,” Lindsey said.
Full Life offers a range of person-centered services that enhance physical health and safety, increase independence, teach skills of daily living, foster social interactions and community inclusion and create new employment and volunteer opportunities.
For more information, visit www.fulllifehawaii.org.
Email Laura Ruminski at firstname.lastname@example.org.