Love for Maui
December 13, 2023Dec 13, 2023
2 MIN READ doing good for people
When it was time for KEENer Hillarie Hunt's pre-planned vacation to Maui, she embraced the spirit of "ohana" in a big way – by volunteering with Global Empowerment Mission to help those affected by the Lahaina wildfire in August.
KEEN has donated $20,000, plus an additional $4,000 from KEEN fans and coworkers, to the Maui Just Recovery Fund, and we recently distributed 862 pairs of shoes. It's even more heartwarming to see one of our coworkers personally lending a hand and spreading love to folks in need there.
"My brief participation unfolded against a backdrop of devastation and loss, yet I was blown away by the profound sense of community that emerged as a powerful force for healing and renewal," she said.
Read on to see how Hillarie left Maui a little better than she found it, and made a deeper connection to a place she loves:
How did you hear about this volunteer opportunity in Maui?
My friends and I had come to Maui for leisure but planned ahead to volunteer. The new Westside Distribution Center had just opened as a response to the emergency, so we dropped in there to see how we might help.
With each box of food and jug of water, every smile and handshake, we wanted them to carry away a message – a message that said, "You matter, and we are here for you."
What was your experience like?
Logistically, we distributed food, water, and various other necessities such as hand santizer, and baby and pet supplies. But the act of giving transcended the physical distribution of goods. It became a lifeline of hope, a reminder that the people of Lahaina are not alone in their struggles. With each box of food and jug of water, every smile and handshake, we wanted them to carry away a message – a message that said, "You matter, and we are here for you."
What was your favorite part of this experience?
Getting to know the people of Maui and witnessing their resilience and strength firsthand was the best part. We talked and laughed and shared personal histories, which was lovely. And I got some hot tips on not-to-miss island experiences from the local's perspective.
What was your biggest takeaway?
I saw the spirit of "ohana" (family) in action, with volunteers pouring in from all walks of life. There were local residents from nearby towns who selflessly dedicated their time to support their neighbors. There were also other visitors who had come to Maui for vacation but chose to lend a helping hand when the community needed it most.
What would you say to others interested in participating in this volunteer experience?
Whenever you are able to volunteer, whatever you are able to do, do it! Volunteering is a win-win activity: you feel good about the experience, you grow as a person, and you help make a positive difference in the community. "The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention." – Oscar Wilde