Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Spreading Aloha To The Marshallese...

Sometimes something happens in your heart, like a little idea, thought, or even a dream. Most people question it, wonder about it, or do a little research to see if it's realistic. I'd be lying if I said I was like that, instead I just go with it...sometimes landing face first. Because the beauty of following your heart is landing in place you never knew existed, and I love being amazed.
I am officially amazed in this moment. Sitting on the lanai last week a thought popped in my heart..."Make Christmas beautiful for a family close to home". Last year I was blessed enough to spend Christmas in Nicaragua and do just that for a family I'd never even met, that experience changed me and them, in so many ways. In that instance on the lanai I agreed with my heart and now "Spreading Aloha To The Marshallese" is in FULL motion.
What began as loving on a single family, grew to 100 people, and after today's meeting and discovering the entire Marshallese Village in Ocean View is 250, I'm going all the way-let's make it beautiful for the entire village, all 250!
A little about what's going on down South:
There are roughly 250 Marshallese living in third world conditions, 150 of them are children surviving in an area that is economically, educationally, and socially stagnant, basically they are unable to find work, lacking in skills such as English & the ability to communicate. Marshallese come to Hawaii as legal non-immigrants under the Compact of Free Association between the United States and the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and why/how? Well, The United States used one of the Marshall islands for nuclear bomb testing...yes explosive and dangerous. This caused the entire little island and all those that lived on it forced to move, as it was a life threatening situation. The United States was left responsible and of the 50 states they chose Big Island Hawaii to move the Marshallese, giving them a small chunk of land in Ocean View to start all over, "Welcome to America". Did I mention Ocean View has next to nothing down there?
Let's check out the living conditions..."The homes are basic shelters made of plywood nailed together and are without toilets and water lines. Electricity hook up is made with extension cords that run from one unit to the next. The Marshallese dwell in crowded quarters with relatives, to such an extent that some children sleep on carpets placed on the lava fields that serve as the floor or bed. The Hawaiian Ocean View Estates has no water line. Water must be fetched from public spigots, and most families lacking resources are only able to haul water to their homes by carpooling, thus hauling the water in quantities barely adequate for drinking and cooking, and only seldom for bathing and washing."Copyright © 2009 All rights reserved.
I'm fully aware that people all over the world are struggling in some way or another, but I'm also very aware that some people are doing pretty good and those that are don't mind helping. I'm beyond excited to see what the Big Island community can do to help a little town down South, so very close to home. In fact, offers to help from other states have been rolling in! AMAZING...
Here is the plan: Get a shoe box and fill it (new things only, please). Here is a sample of one of them Kainoa made yesterday. A shirt $3, a tooth brush/tooth paste $1, band aids $1, crayons .25, a color book $1, and a snack .75. We got that at Target, roughly $7. If you do some smart shopping you can totally score deals and help one of the children feel like a million bucks!
After you pack the shoe box (wrapping is optional), please put a tag on it to let us know if you shopped for a girl or a boy and the age. Listen to your heart, maybe you feel led to help an adult. There are young women there (20-30) that would love a new dress, put a dress in a shoe box. Think of high school aged kids, maybe new books or hair brushes, bracelets and hair clips. Other ideas are soaps, shampoos, snacks, any kind of school supplies for children, books, bags, underwear, little toys.
Of the children only half of them make it through school and 1% have gone to college, anything that has to do with school will make them happy. In fact, a group that recently went to visit the village brought down news papers and scissors, this had the children happy and smiling in amazement for a few hours! Anything and everything will be valuable.
What about used stuff? I'll take your shoes please. All sizes. The plan is Christmas morning to arrive in Ocean View with truck loads of support and just show how much we care about this small town that is basically off the maps to the rest of the world, dropped off, shipped over, after having their island home exploded. In true Big Island Fashion-Ohana Style at it's finest, we have an entire team forming to spend Christmas with the Marshallese. Other than the gifts, shoes, and toys, we are forming a giant feast too! It won't be a drop-off-n'-go kind of morning, it's going to be a celebration. If you think I'm excited, you should see Kainoa, he has robbed his piggy bank to fill shoe boxes for children he can't wait to play with!
Where do you drop off/send?? Good question!
Bike Works will happily take the shoe boxes filled with toys/gifts and the used shoes. Please drop them off in the giant box and I'll continue to empty it as it fills (that's if you live local on the Big Island). You have until Christmas Eve to donate. If you are wanting to help from the mainland, you can send your shoe boxes stuffed or old shoes to me: Bree Wee PO BOX 1033 Kailua-Kona, HI 96745. THANK YOU SO MUCH! If you don't want to stuff a shoe box but want to help (or want me to stuff one in your support) that's cool too. 100% of all funds sent will be put into "Spreading Aloha To The Marshallese" Make checks payable to:UNKF and we will get a paypal account in the next couple days :)
Finally, if you live on the Big Island and you are interested in getting more involved, we plan to take a small team down to Ocean View on Christmas day. Currently we are still looking for Santa :) hint, hint! And all you bakers & food makers, we need some treats! Anything you want to bake for the feast we plan to throw would be awesome! More on that later, (as we will be in touch so I can grab it from you Christmas week).
A giant MAHALO from my heart! This is going to be amazing...

250 shoe boxes, Piece of CAKE!


Kathleen @ ForgingAhead said...

Bree, you are amazing.

CoachLiz said...

Count me in. I have shoes I can send and I will start gathering stuff for shoe boxes.

Clair said...

Awesome. Running shoes? I've got three pair that are gently used that I'd like to contribute.

Furacán said...

You've a big big heart Bree.

ShirleyPerly said...

Count me in too! Besides shoes, I've got a LOT of little hotel soaps and other lil toiletry items I can bring.

And here's a little interesting tidbit from my history buff hubby: these folks are likely from Bikini Atoll so helping the Bikini people sounds like the PERFECT project for you :-)

Meaghan said...

Bree -

Do you have a PayPal account set up, for those of us that would like to donate money to this cause? I live in Massachusetts, and the shipping alone would be silly - I would rather have those shipping costs put to better use (towards food/clothing/etc). If not, I can just send a check. Please let me know!!!


kakes773 said...

Bree, this is a great idea! Look for something from me through my parents :-)

Christi said...

Awesome idea!

Laura said...

Awesome Bree!

Sarah said...

I'm wondering about Paypal, too!

BreeWee said...

SO sorry, no paypal account or tax papers for anyone to write it off on taxes, we knew this would get big but had no idea we would recieve so much mainland support, if we get one Ill let you know.

Shirley, big yes on Bikini Island, we got an idea for that to come :)

mahalo plenty to you all :)

Caratunk Girl said...

Shoe boxes heading your way from Maine Bree! You are awesome. I am predicting you beat the 250...just saying.

Sarah Giacomarra Schrader said...

This is an excellent idea. I just researched postage costs from NJ and it could cost anywhere from $15 to $8. That could buy 1-2 more shoe box gifts so I am going to mail you a check. Should we make checks out to you?

Aimee said...

What an awesome idea!

Anj said...

I have been watching your blog for a while now...this is one of those reasons why I keep reading. You uplife & give hope.

I live in Canada, so please count me in when you set up a Paypal accout or decide if we can mail you a check.

BreeWee said...

OKay...... just had a little minute with my co-leader... we will get a paypal account and let you all know in the next couple days. Checks can be made to UNKF and then we can give you a reciept for taxes :)

Amazed by the support, thank you!

Dawn said...

Awesome, Bree! What a beautiful, idea!! I would love to help. ;)

Nibbles said...

I can't wait for the PayPal account! Also, I just shared this on my Facebook page. Thanks!

pedalpower said...

Oh I wish I could be there on Christmas day to go with you. I'll definitely be sending you some shoe boxes. When I was down on the south end driving by Ocean View, I wondered who lived out there...and now I know. I never would have imagined.

sallyaston said...

What a great idea- you have such a big heart. My boys and I are putting together a couple of shoe boxes to mail off to you next week! :-)

Lucy Francis said...

Bree, lots of people already asked about this. as soon as you have a paypal account I'll be very happy to give a donation.let us now please

Kristie said...

Bree - You are so cool!! You inspire so many...thank you for sharing your great ideas and positive attitude!

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