Rotary Clubs in Maui County Support COVID-19 Relief Projects

May 2, 2020, 8:17 AM HST · Updated May 2, 1:37 PM
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Maui Rotarian Kwanza Woodson and volunteering at a food distribution at old Maui High School. PC: Rotary

Rotary International District 5000 has announced the award of $31,000 in grants to Hawaiʻi Rotary clubs to support COVID-19 relief projects. The Rotary Hawaiʻi District 5000 funds come from dues and donations from Rotary club members across the islands. Funds that were budgeted this year for conferences, training and travel have been re-allocated to these COVID-19 grants.

Clubs will use these grants to work with Hawaiʻi nonprofit community partners to provide COVID-19 relief.

One major grant of $5,000 and five grants of $1,000 were awarded across six different projects on Oʻahu, Kauaʻi, Maui, and the Big Island of Hawaiʻi. All 52 Rotary clubs in Hawaiʻi will receive an additional $400 each to benefit the non-profit of the club’s choice.

“Rotary is about helping people in our local communities,” said Eric Kaler, District Governor of Rotary in Hawaiʻi. “We are mobilizing and re-deploying funds to enable our Hawaii clubs to do even more to provide relief for people impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

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The Rotary Club of Lahaina Sunrise on Maui will be procuring and assembling masks and other personal protective equipment for medical workers on Maui.

A $5,000 grant will be shared by 10 Oʻahu Rotary clubs who are collaborating to source and distribute plastic face shields for first responders and healthcare workers on the island. In addition to the grant, the clubs will collectively contribute a supplemental $3,600 for the project.

The masks are being sourced from Min Plastics, a Honolulu company with more than 70 years of fabrication experience in the plastic industry and which began producing face shields in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rotary club members from the 10 Oʻahu clubs (Rotary clubs of Downtown Honolulu, Ala Moana, eClub Hawaiʻi, Eco Kaka’ako, Waikīkī, Honolulu Sunrise, Hawaiʻi Kai, Diamond Head, East Honolulu, and Kahala Sunrise) will assemble and distribute the face shields to local hospitals and first responders, including EMS and the Honolulu Fire Department. The clubs expect to help 300 individuals directly with these supplies.

Laine Kohama, Rotary Assistant District Governor on Oʻahu, brought the 10 clubs together to discuss ideas. “The clubs very quickly agreed to collaborate on one major project,” said Kohama. “Among the ideas, it was decided to focus on our first responders and medical personnel,” he added.

According to Dr. James Ham, President of the Rotary Club of Honolulu Sunrise and an emergency room physician at Straub Medical Center, “It is so valuable to those of us in healthcare to have the support of community organizations like Rotary in the face of this pandemic. Additional donations of personal protective equipment are greatly appreciated.”

Here are some additional ways Rotary clubs are assisting the community:

  • The Rotary Club of Metropolitan Honolulu will put $1,000 toward The Food Basket’s “Keiki Backpack” program. This program provides nutritional supplements to low income elementary school-age children in selected schools based on need.
  • The Rotary Club of Downtown Honolulu will use its $1,000 grant for food distribution programs with the YMCA of Honolulu. The YMCA has provided Grab-N-Go meals for families and is also a USDA Summer Food Service Program sponsor.
  • On Hawaiʻi Island, a $1,000 grant goes to the Rotary Club of Kona. They are procuring supplies and volunteering with the Salvation Army food bank to provide food for those affected by job losses due to COVID-19 regulations.
  • The Rotary Club of Kapaʻa on Kauaʻi will use a $1,000 grant for a project to provide employment hours for out-of-work restaurant workers and to periodically provide meals in the community on a “pay as you can” basis. They are partnering with restaurants who they work with each year in their Taste of Hawaiʻi fundraiser.
  • Rotary clubs across the islands are staying actively connected during the pandemic using online meetings, social media, and email. Club members are volunteering to sew face masks, shop for supplies for kupuna, deliver food, provide financial information, and support food banks and programs in their local communities.Rotary clubs on Oʻahu, Kauaʻi and Maui have also created Facebook groups for “Caremongering” on their islands. These groups are open to the public and serve to connect people and resources for COVID-19 pandemic assistance.

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