Private sector sending donations to areas hit by Hurricane Iselle
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -
With the added attention to the hardest hit areas comes more interest from people to donate to the relief efforts.
There have been complaints that the government isn't doing enough to help the people in Puna following Hurricane Iselle. So the private sector is now stepping up and sending thousands of dollars worth of food and ice to the Big Island.
A shipping container is filled with 40,000 pounds of ice, 24,000 eggs, hundreds of loaves of bread and pallets of snacks. It's all en route to the Puna District in Hawaii County.
"As a person you start praying for the 40,000 people that live in Puna. As a business owner you start praying for your staff members and their families. And as a father all I can think about was my daughter is over there," said Chad Buck, Hawaii Foodservice Alliance.
His daughter Tiana runs the Hawaii Foodservice Alliance Big Island office. Her home in Paradise Park was without power. But he didn't just want to help her.
"If a government agency can step up we've got their back and happy to do it because we live in Hawaii. We want to show the people of Puna that we care about them and help is on the way," said Buck.
"I would hate for this to become a Katrina on a smaller scale. The people of Puna, they do have a legitimate gripe and we're going to do the best we can to address this," said State Representative John Mizuno, House Vice Speaker. "I'm not here to bash the government. I represent the government. However I think we can do a better job."
Nonprofits are also stepping up. The American Red Cross has 200 volunteers working in Puna and a 24/7 shelter. Although they haven't seen an up tick in donations yet which is surprising considering this is a disaster within our own state.
"I think that people are just seeing the damage now as they are able to get into the hardest hit areas and now their hearts are open and they want to help. The best thing for us is to do it with cash donations," said Coralie Matayoshi, American Red Cross Hawaii Chapter.
The Aloha United Way is also accepting cash and is also coordinating in kind donations. People can drop off food and water to the Hawaii Foodbank at 2611 Kilihau Street in Mapunapuna.
Clothes and toiletries can be dropped off at the Helping Hands Hawaii office at 2100 N. Nimitz Highway.
"When these types of things happen we all need to step up. Everybody needs to say hey it could just as easily be us as the folks on the Big Island," said Norm Baker, Aloha United Way Chief Operating Officer. "Many people's lives have been totally disrupted and over the next year or so it's going to take a lot of effort, a lot of resources, and a lot of folks donating money."
The State is also offering tips for helping those affected by Iselle. For details click here.