Maui Business

Volunteer Efforts Adapt to Coronavirus Pandemic

March 22, 2020, 10:55 AM HST
* Updated March 22, 11:09 AM
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Kanu Hawai‘i is putting out a call for service providers and virtual volunteer opportunities to register through an online platform for COVID-19: Respond with Aloha.

Representatives say the goal of the new site is to pair individuals with organizations that provide services.

COVID-19: Respond with Aloha is a statewide effort in collaboration with Kanu Hawai‘i and state, county, business and civil society partners through the Hawai‘i Green Growth network.

COVID-19: Respond with Aloha provides an online hub to help connect partners across Hawai‘i that are providing essential services and supporting vulnerable communities, such as meals and supplies for kupuna, houseless individuals and students. Examples of volunteer opportunities will include helping community organizations and local businesses with needs and coordination of supplies, phone trees to reach out to seniors and neighbors, and a Kokua Exchange to share skills with other community members through an online platform.

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“We need to work together on efficient solutions that can keep our community safe, fed and connected during this crisis,” said Keone Kealoha, executive director of Kanu Hawai‘i.

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“We are adapting the volunteer tool to help organizations and individuals during COVID-19 response, and also help address community needs into the future.”

The call for individual volunteers will be announced soon where residents will be encouraged to sign up on the platform to virtually volunteer with aloha, stay connected and safely be of service.

“These challenging times are a reminder of the connections, community and partnerships that are needed to build a more resilient and sustainable future,” said Celeste Connors, executive director of the Hawai‘i Green Growth Local2030 Hub. “We are pleased to partner with Kanu Hawai‘i through Volunteer Week Hawai‘i and more immediately to respond to COVID-19 by supporting those in need.”

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This accelerates plans for Hawai‘i’s largest annual volunteer-focused campaign with Volunteer Week Hawai‘i, organized by Kanu Hawai‘i with over hundred partners and events statewide. In 2018, Volunteer Week supported a response with government and community partners to Kauai’s heavy rainfall and flooding event that same week. This year, Volunteer Week, will respond to economic and other community needs related to COVID-19 as part of an on-going effort through COVID-19: Respond with Aloha.

“Nonprofits and community groups statewide are getting clearer, in this rapidly changing environment, about what they need to maintain operations and to provide critical services to their constituencies,” said Lisa Maruyama, President and CEO for the Hawai‘i Alliance of Non-Profit Organizations, who is also a member of the House Select Committee on COVID-19 Economic and Financial Preparedness. “This hub will play a timely and important role in matching resources to needs.”

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