(BIVN) – On Monday, a check presentation was held at the site of the temporary micro-housing units in Pahoa, as fund-raisers worked to keep two mobile shower trailers in the service of residents displaced by the ongoing volcanic eruption.
Project Vision Hawai‘i and Pu‘uhonua o Puna teamed up to raise nearly $70,000 for the two mobile shower trailers (HiEHiE) to support ongoing disaster relief in Puna.
After presenting the checks, donors took a tour of the HiEHiE shower trailer. Pu‘uhonua o Puna volunteer Ashley Kierkiewicz talked about the effort in an interview after the event.
UPDATE: The Hastings & Pleadwell communication company provided this detailed media release on Wednesday:
Project Vision Hawaii and Puuhonua o Puna Info & Supply Hub were presented $68,500 in checks and in-kind donations to support ongoing disaster relief efforts in Puna.
On June 12, Project Vision’s Oahu-based mobile hygiene trailer, HiEHiE, arrived to Hawaii Island to support short-term transitional micro-housing units in Pahoa for 30 days. The trailer was shipped by Young Brothers as an in-kind donation.
HiEHiE debuted in February 2018 to provide hot showers to people experiencing homelessness. While the unit was in Puna, Pacific Shipping Inc. deployed its mobile shower trailer so Project Vision could continue service on Oahu.
Over the last month, Annie Valentin, executive director of Project Vision, and Puuhonua o Puna co-organizer Ashley Kierkiewicz, raised funds to bring showers to Puna. The goal is to purchase two mobile hygiene trailers, each with three stall combo shower-restrooms, to remain on Hawaii Island for disaster relief. Post-disaster, the trailers would provide hot showers to individuals experiencing homelessness on the island.
Hawaii Lodging & Tourism Association (HLTA) was first to commit $20,000 towards the effort, with $5,000 going to the 30-day operations of HiEHiE on Hawaii Island, and the remainder to support operations of one of the hygiene units being purchased for disaster relief.
Lifelong Puna resident and cultural practitioner Piilani Kaawaloa opened the check presentation ceremony with a pule (prayer), with gratitude for the manifestation of resources and continued outpouring of support from community.
Latter-Day Saints (LDS) Charities presented a check for $30,000; representing LDS Charities was Elder Aley Auna, President Sam Erbe and his wife Priscilla, and Clerk Geroge Bezilla.
Contributions from Cameron Healy of The Bill Healy Foundation ($10,000), Kate Jacobson of the Ke Kai Ala Foundation ($5,000) and Karen Eoff of the Kohaniki Foundation ($1,500) were presented by Mattson and Thalia Davis of Kailua-Kona.
Lance Tanaka, director of government and public affairs for Par Hawaii, donated $2,000 in fuel and propane to operate the shower trailers.
The first disaster relief mobile hygiene unit has been identified. The aim is to purchase and ship from Los Angeles port to Hawaii Island by the end of next week.
“We are humbled by the generous response from community to support our vision to bring mobile showers to Puna,” said Valentin. “We still have more funds to raise but we are off to an amazing start. These first gifts will allow us purchase the first Hawaii Island mobile hygiene unit so we can continue to deliver critical hygiene services to individuals living in transitional housing villages. I’m very thankful to our Hawaii Island staff for implementing the mobile shower program so quickly.”
“These donations are the result of finding ways to leverage connections and partnerships to make a positive impact,” said Kierkiewicz. “The recent lava eruption has forced us to get creative with how we deliver services and work together as a community. It’s humbling to be part of an effort that will provide hot showers, something we often take for granted.”
The duo hopes to raise an additional $100,000 to purchase a second unit that is ADA accessible, and to support six months of operations (transportation, utilization, maintenance). Monthly operations are expected to cost $10,000 per unit.
Donation can be made at GoFundMe.com/showers-for-puna, or email the organizers at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss larger donations. All money raised is being directed to Project Vision Hawaii, a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.
Project Vision operates four mobile vision and health screening medical units across the state in an effort to increase access to healthcare. It’s Hawaii Island unit will be used as an office space at the Pahoa Sacred Hearts micro-housing site, and provide a suite of resources for housing, mental health and medical services.
Pu‘uhonua o Puna is a community-driven information and supply hub located in Pahoa. Operations are 100 percent volunteer run. The Hub is open seven days a week and provides those impacted by ongoing lava eruptions in Puna a place to pick up supplies, grab a meal, share/gather information, and access health and wellness services.