From Hawaii Island to Lahaina, little glass hearts that carry a big message of aloha
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A man on Hawaii Island has sent over 1,500 glass worry hearts for the Maui wildfire survivors.
“It is a little heart, and it’s a little something to try to help you to understand that the future is going to be brighter, something you can hold on to and rub and just it’ll take your worries away,” said Barry Gitelson, explaining the hearts.
Barry Gitelson did his first batch of worry hearts during COVID. When the fires happened, he says he knew this is what he could do to help.
He called it his kuleana — or responsibility.
“I knew that this was one of my purposes that I had been guided to do this to help people out this way,” Gitelson said.
After making a batch of 400, Gitelson needed help getting them to the people on Maui.
One woman who helped him give out hearts left him this message:
“Barry, this would not be except for you. Not only are you helping heal them, but you are certainly helping heal me,” she said.
And a letter from someone else: “Aloha, Barry. Mahalo for sending your beautiful hearts. I’m going to keep one in my pocket until it finds its way forward. It’s comforting. Appreciate you entrusting me with your gifts.”
T.J. Akima had to drive through flames in Lahaina with his wife and 7-year-old son to escape the inferno. They made it out, but the fire destroyed their apartment.
The family is now staying with friends.
Akima and his family are just a few recipients of those hearts.
“When people tell me their stories, it just means I have cried more than once,” Gitelson said. “Hearing the stories and how grateful people are.”
Copyright 2023 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.