Maui Student from Japan Donates Tips to Tsunami Relief

March 29, 2011, 1:17 PM HST · Updated March 29, 1:31 PM
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By Wendy Osher

Courtesy Photo, Hilo Hattie.

When Minori Sambe walked into the Kihei branch of the Hilo Hattie store on March 19th, she had more than shopping on her mind.

“They looked like they were bringing lunch for one of the employees,” said Jessica Burns, Hilo Hattie Store Manager.

Sambe, walked into the store with a friend on one arm, and a paper bag in the other–her friend was the messenger, the paper bag was a donation.

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Sambe, a Japanese national who is studying at the Maui Academy of Healing Art Massage School, put the tips she had received from customers into the bag and asked her fellow classmates to do the same.

Touched by the tragedy in Japan, Sambe had hoped to donate the money to relief efforts in the region.  Her family in Japan was indirectly affected by the tsunami, but was reportedly safe.

When the money had been collected, she took it to Hilo Hattie’s, which she had learned through KIKU TV (a multi-cultural television station in Hawaii), was a Red Cross donation site.

It took a little while to empty, straighten, sort and count the money that had been stuffed in the bag she brought, but the total came to $585.00.

Sambe and her fellow classmates continue to collect more money and plan to donate it to ongoing relief efforts.

Courtesy photo, Hilo Hattie.

On April 6th and 13th from 6pm-9pm, tips collected from massages at the Maui Academy of Healing Art Massage School will be donated to the Red Cross. The public can call the school at 879-4266 to make appointments for those two evenings.

As of March 21st, Hilo Hattie has collected $7,300.00 from customer donations at its eight island locations.  Pomare, Ltd. dba Hilo Hattie donated an additional $2,700.00, for a grand total of $10,000.00.

“We have been touched by the generosity of our employees and customers.”, says Donald B.S. Kang, President and Chief Executive Officer of Pomare, Ltd., parent company of Hilo Hattie.

“From students, who probably need the money themselves, to individuals who only gave $1.00, together we have been able to demonstrate Hawaii’s Aloha for Japan. We are humbled to be a convenient donation site for the American Red Cross for Japan Earthquake & Pacific Tsunami relief and we will continue to collect donations until the end of March,” said Kang.

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