Volunteer Week Hawaii

Maui COVID-19 Relief Efforts Ramp Up, April 19-26

As COVID-19 has dramatically impacted Hawaii and the world, it is more important than ever to support and take care of each other. What better time to get involved than during Volunteer Week Hawaii? 

Taking place this year from April 19-26, Volunteer Week Hawaii was originally launched in 2018 by Kanu Hawaii as a local take on National Volunteer Week, which has been celebrated annually since 1974. Volunteer Week is an opportunity to encourage people to engage with their communities and to recognize volunteers for their year-round contributions. During last year’s Volunteer Week Hawaii, more than 5,000 people gave their time.

Currently, several local nonprofits have pivoted operations to support the COVID-19 outbreak. In support of Volunteer Week, we encourage you to find a way to volunteer on Maui and commit to building community resilience in face of the adversities due to COVID-19.

Here are a few ways you can help and respond with aloha:

Hands on Maui — Hands on Maui is looking for volunteers and donations to support urgent community needs created by the Coronavirus outbreak. Visit www.handsonmaui.com or contact Wendy Stebbins at 808-270-7150 for more information.

Maui County Health Department — During a disaster or other emergency, volunteer health care professionals are often called upon to fulfill essential roles such as providing medical evaluation and care, vaccinations or assisting with the distribution of medications. Volunteers also support preparedness activities such as community education and training. To prepare for the possibility of a medical surge, the Maui County Health Department is seeking qualified health care professionals to call upon depending on various needs and assignments. Register online at nlk.doh.hawaii.gov.

Sponsor A Kupuna — Unfortunately, not all elderly in Hawaii have ohana on island to look out for them during these very difficult times. Connect with a kupuna as a sponsor. After meeting screening criteria, sponsors call their kupuna once a week, see if they need any groceries, household items, or help picking up their medication. All expenses are reimbursed. If you are interested in being connected with a kupuna, visit www.ourkupuna.com or call 808-400-4506.

Maui Face Mask Project — To meet the urgent and growing demand for medical grade masks, more volunteers are needed to assist with mask making. Sewing experience is not required. Production is in a controlled environment at Seabury Hall under the direction of Jennifer Oberg, a professional dressmaker. To become a volunteer, email volunteer coordinator Julie MacMillan at [email protected] for a pre-screening.

Maui Garden Project — In these uncertain times, Maui Sustainable Solutions is creating and distributing raised bed gardens out of up-cycled wood and sourcing compost locally to encourage people to move toward greater food independence. It’s easiest to start by growing plants that can regrow from scraps, like lettuce, celery and pineapples. To order a raised bed garden and start growing your own food, visit mauisustainablesolutions.com. To keep up with increased demand, volunteers are needed to help build beds and pick up and deliver pallets. To volunteer, email Kevin Watkins at [email protected].

Be a Big Brother or Big Sister — Maui kids continue to look for a caring adult role model, even during the COVID-19 outbreak. Today’s youth are faced with a variety of challenges and being matched with a Big Brother or Big Sister can help them navigate these challenges and reach their full potential. “Bigs” (adults) are asked to meet their “Little” (aged 6-16) between 2-4 times a month, for at least one year, to learn a new skill, have lunch, or enjoy an activity. Visit www.bbbshawaii.org/beabig.html for more information.

Earth Week Drive-By Donation Sites — This year, the 50th anniversary of Earth Day is celebrated on April 22. In lieu of an Earth Day beach cleanup, local environmental nonprofits Surfrider Foundation – Maui Chapter, Love The Sea, and Hawaii Wildlife Fund will volunteer to collect food across Maui to support COVID-19 relief efforts.

Donations of non-perishable food items are requested, and will go to Maui Food Bank, Feed My Sheep, and Maui Rapid Response. Cloth masks and medical kits are also welcomed. Volunteers following all health protocols will collect these items directly from your car at the following sites:

  • Thursday, April 23 (Lahaina)
    9 a.m. – Noon
    Maria Lanakila Catholic Church Lawn
    712 Wainee St. (on Wainee & Dickenson, across from Feed My Sheep)
  • Friday, April 24 (Paia)
    3 p.m. – 6 p.m.
    Kuau Store
    701 Hana Hwy.
  • Saturday, April 25 (Kihei)
    9 a.m. – Noon
    Hope Chapel
    300 E. Welakahao Rd. (look for the Surfrider Maui tent)
  • Saturday, April 26 (Kahului)
    9 a.m. – Noon
    Auto Zone
    127 S. Puunene Ave. (across from the Kahului Post Office)

To assist with these donation sites, or volunteer for future events and cleanups, contact Matt Lane at [email protected].

Donate or Volunteer to Feed Local Families — If you are not able to donate food or supplies, you can also support the Maui Food Bank, Feed My Sheep, and Maui Rapid Response with monetary donations or your time. A little goes a long way.

  • Maui Food Bank — Just $1 can support up to four meals for an individual. Maui Food Bank serves safe and nutritious meals to 10,000 food-insecure individuals a month, including children, seniors, single moms, working poor families, and the homeless. During COVID-19 the demand for food has increased dramatically. Volunteer or donate at mauifoodbank.org.
  • Feed My Sheep — A $10 donation feeds a family of four for a week, including the cost of transportation and staff. Feed My Sheep is a unique mobile food distribution program, where staff pass out bags of groceries to neighborhoods of need each week, providing emotional support to families at the same time. Each month, Feed My Sheep gives out 69,000 half-pound meals. Volunteer or donate at feedmysheepmaui.com. 
  • Maui Rapid Response services more than 1,250 unsheltered people every day with food, first aid, living supplies, and hygiene supplies. The organization’s initiatives include the Maui Rescue Mission, Share Your Mana, Chili on Wheels Maui, and Kupuna Kits. Visit instagram.com/MauiRapidResponse for more information and ways to help.

Support Volunteer Week on Maui! To find more ways to volunteer across the state, visit the Volunteer Week Hawaii website at respondwithaloha.org.

What are we forgetting?