After they lost everything to lava, they learned what aloha means. And then they paid it forward

After they lost everything to lava, they learned what aloha means. And then they paid it forward

PUNA, BIG ISLAND (HawaiiNewsNow) - Mindy and Marty Berry lost everything when the Kapoho Farm Lots home they had just moved into was claimed by lava with all their belongings still inside.

Dear friends started a GoFundMe account to help the couple get back on their feet.

But instead of using the money, the couple has chosen to give back to the community they love.

"As the funds came in we continued to just be aware of how people were hurting more and needed more and so we really felt to just give that to people who need it more," Marty Berry said.

Armed with 50 envelopes filled with aloha and a crisp $100 bill, Mindy and Marty delivered hope and hugs Monday to Pu'uhonua o Puna, the central hub for eruption evacuees. The reaction from neighbors they've never met — who will be forever connected to them by circumstance — was priceless.

"Oh! Oh!" cried Libby Oshiyama, who lost her Leilani Estates home.

"You know, everyone is so kind and generous and loving and mostly just loving. Everybody takes care."

Enclosed in the envelope was also a personal note from the Berrys.

It said: "We are so sorry for your loss. We too lost our home, farm and all our possessions. You are not alone. We care. God cares. And even strangers care.  Better days lie ahead for you. We press forward. With love and aloha, Marty and Mindy."

Even with no clear plan for their own future, the Berrys say they've been extremely blessed.

And while they're appreciative of the friends who've raised funds on their behalf, they say paying it forward is helping them heal in a profound way.

"The people are struggling much more than we are and the benefits I get from giving are just so great," Mindy Berry said. "And to see that it will hopefully encourage them and let them know they're not alone. People care. People love them that don't even know them."

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