Tongans in Hawaii join forces to send disaster relief to hard-hit island nation
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) — In the wake of the Tonga earthquake and tsunami, Wesley United Methodist Church in Kahala and other United Methodist churches in the state formed a Tongan relief task force.
They unite to deliver humanitarian aid to the hard-hit island nation.
“We now need water, canned food and packaged food for at least the next month. It is urgent right now,” said Pastor Piula Alailima.
Wesley United is accepting financial contributions which will go to a non-profit organization in New Zealand. He will buy the supplies and ship them to the Wesley United Methodist Church in Tonga.
“So instead of shipping water from here, we go and buy water there and they deliver to the church and also to the government. They then have access to let people know. “said Alailima.
Help also comes from small groups of Tongans in Hawaii. Kava clubs are asking for donations of food, water and clothing for Tonga.
“I know some people ask for furniture. I know Tonga is going to rebuild right now,” said Kepu Tauatevalu.
He is part of the Kalapu Smart club which will hold a fundraiser and bingo drive on Saturday at 218 Mohonua Place near Sand Island Access Road.
“All the money we get from bingo will be used to buy water paddles and canned food paddles,” Tauatevalu said.
The club hopes that a shipping company will provide a container that can transport the goods to Tonga. With lines of communication still patchy, many Tongans in Hawaii have been unable to contact loved ones.
“Seeing my mother cry without knowing what is happening at home, without news from her family. It was quite sad,” Tauatevalu said.
United Methodist Churches in Hawaii are also planning longer-term assistance for Tonga.
“We encourage all of our community members and friends to save clothing and furniture and all those things for the next phase. Later we will send work crews to help with construction, plumbing and all those things,” Alailima said.
If you would like to contribute to the Wesley United Methodist Church relief effort, contact the church at 737-3444.
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