By Wendy Osher
A total of $115,000 has been raised for the Maui-based Aloha Initiative, in which Maui families will host Japan citizens displaced by the March earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis. The first beneficiaries of the host family initiative will arrive on Maui in early July for a 90 day respite in Hawaii.
$35,000 of the funds raised was done so through a Wear Jeans for Japan disaster relief fundraiser held last month.
Of that, $20,000 was raised through donations made by customers and employees at Mana Foods. Store owners, Theresa and Edward Thielk were both recognized for their efforts with an award issued by Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa.
As part of the fundraising effort, Mayor Arakawa challenged Maui departments, businesses and schools to participate by making a donation toward the Aloha Initiative while wearing jeans to show their support.
“We are so grateful to Mana Foods and the various entities for their generosity and support. Special thanks to Carden Academy and Mary Lynne Goode for helping to coordinate this unique and successful fundraising project as well as generating donations for The Aloha Initiative project,” said Tiffany Iida, president of the Japanese Cultural Society of Maui, the nonprofit organization leading the effort.
Honorary Chair Mayor Alan Arakawa said that more monies are needed to support this overwhelming effort. Support is still being sought for transportation services and translation.
Those interested in making a contribution to The Aloha Initiative, can do so at any First Hawaiian Bank in Hawai’i, Guam and CNMI through June 30, 2011.