Non-profit leader gives eye-opening first hand account of Kauai's recovery efforts

Non-profit leader gives eye-opening first hand account of Kauai's recovery efforts

HANALEI, KAUAI (HawaiiNewsNow) - Malama Kauai, a non-profit that normally focuses on increasing local food consumption and production, has taken an important role in Kauai's disaster relief efforts.

Executive Director Megan Fox says, there is an immense amount of activity happening on the ground.

Fox provided the following update Tuesday morning, giving a comprehensive first hand account of the situation on the ground in many of the devastated areas of the island.

Non-profit leader gives eye opening first hand account of Kauai's recovery efforts
Non-profit leader gives eye opening first hand account of Kauai's recovery efforts

Wainiha's major activity of the day (Monday) was trash pick up to attack the household trash situation. People bagged their household trash in black contractor bags while crews went neighborhood to neighborhood grabbing it. One crew was staffed by all local residents working under a private contractor license. 80% of the trash created from the flooding and a week of activity was removed in a single day.

Wainiha needs UTV's 4x4 to continue community-led supply chain from Hanalei to Haena.  Most of the food is brought in by boat through rough waters and needs to get from the boat to the food pantry at the YMCA and the only operational restaurant, Opakapaka. From the boat that arrives at Makua beach, it is a 300 yard trek across the beach to the public beach access. Thousands of pounds of goods arrive throughout the day to supply the needed resources of the estimated 800 remaining residents and their animals. Large Surf is on the way and all boating operations could stop for days. Now is the window to stock up some reserves to get through several days without daily transport. This means an even larger volume of supplies being brought in to unload. Large UTV's will completely solve the present logistical problem. Volunteers wishing to assist in the heavy-duty cleanup efforts can report to Hanalei Courthouse by 9am daily.

In Haena, the community has organized a food pantry at YMCA Haena, which is open from 9am to 4pm daily. Breakfast and dinner are being served at Opakapaka at Hanalei Colony Resort in Haena every day. Both locations are requesting food donations, especially fresh, but transportation limitations have been holding up accessibility.

Hanalei ran a lighter boatload today (Monday), primarily in the afternoon - humans and a large Home Depot supply of buckets, shovels, wheelbarrows, and other tools. There are two teams doing assessments to gather information on those impacted and their needs, and many work crews being deployed to respond to various efforts. 50+ pairs of boots were distributed out of Hanalei Courthouse, but they could use more. Cleaning supplies may also be dropped off, however, they are not a drop-off point for other supplies.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner served at Hanalei Courthouse. Approx. 320 lunches out of Waipa distributed to volunteers, road work crews and families from Hanalei to Haena. Also sent out 3 large coolers full of food to Opakapaka soup kitchen. Clinic staffed with a nurse set up at Courthouse from 10-2 today treating minor cuts, bruises and basic hygiene. Dr Elias still running clinic at Hanalei Colony Resort. Additionally, acupuncturist will be at Courthouse on tomorrow from 4-7pm.

Malama Kauai will continue shift their operations from Anini Beach to a larger and more secure setting in Kilauea. They will be deploying an expanded communications center, gathering information from community assessments to better determine needs, and training new staff and volunteers. They will continue to serve their community, prioritizing those with emergency-related health and safety issues, however, major supply distribution will pause for the day for them to get reorganized.

When opening their new center, they will be taking requests for supplies directly from a key contact person identified in each community for streamlining and efficiency. Individual requests should be facilitated through the identified community contact person, which is posted on their website. Malama Kaua'i will then direct community-based donations to community leads, prioritizing by level of emergency.

In Kalihiwai, all flooded homes that requested clean out help have been emptied, demoed and cleaned. Waiting on materials, permits and/or homeowners decisions about rebuilding for most homes, and they are prepping for rebuilds. While the team awaits a dumpster, dump run assistance is needed.

Anahola's meal program is going well and they are now looking for a space to host their food pantry. Assessments have been going out to affected families and farmers/ranchers. For work crews, they could use rakes, buckets, shovels, masks, and work gloves. Lorilani Keohokalole-Torio is the key point for contact for gathering community needs and communicating them to the outside. The community is also organizing a tool collection and gathering space that will be announced tomorrow. Kealia is still getting organized but has communicated a team of two key point people.

The Hawaii Food Bank is deploying food resources to all sites' key food pantry contacts for on the ground relief and daily feeding programs as needed. This week they will be accepting donations of non-perishable food from 8am to 4pm Monday through Friday. Bottled water is currently no longer needed at this time. Items can be dropped off at our Hawaii Foodbank – Kauai Branch warehouse at 4241-A Hanahao Place in the Puhi Industrial Park, Lihue.

HA Coffee will also be open on as a town center hub for non-food supply drop offs and pickups that will be re-routed north for distribution while the Malama Kaua'i headquarters gets relocated. Please stay tuned to community needs and wish lists and only bring specific items needed.

Upcoming work parties are being posted on the Malama Kauai Volunteers Facebook Group and there is much more information of how you can help at the non-profits website.

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