Inside West Maui: Kāipo Kekona and Nāpili distribution effort
In the West Maui town of Nāpili, residents stood up a distribution point to help friends and neighbors in need.
“We’re just trying to make sure we can keep our community together and staying healthy. We understand there’s a lot of opportunities and people are all out there making great efforts and helping. We’re just trying to facilitate and be a bridge for our community,” said Kaipo Kekona, who was interviewed in West Maui by Jack Dugan, Chief Operating Officer of Pacific Media Group / Maui Now.
In a grassroots effort, Kekona said personal tents and tables were staged.
“We’re really just trying to make the effort to service the people that took the big loss. We’ve got hundreds of people missing,” said Kekona.
While the death toll as of Friday evening had climbed to 80, Kekona said he fears hundreds didn’t make it.
“We’re really looking for the people that have lost their houses. Come by, please,” he said.
The site has organized sections for clothes, food and non-perishables. According to Kekona, propane is a popular item that is in need because residents have been trying to cook their own food. The distribution site is also gearing up to establish a kitchen to cook hot meals daily.
“As long as the community needs us, we’ll be here,” said Kekona, who called the commitment a “long-haul” effort.
“You just gotta stick together and realize, you know, change is coming, and we’ve got to be together to go through that,” he said. “We’re told we won’t be seeing power for about two months in Lahaina, and the system to be rebuilt is going to take years. Our whole town is completely gone. It’s hard to understand, but that’s the reality.”