Ka Loko fund aids grieving families

Five families who lost loved ones in the Ka Loko Reservoir dam break in March received $41,600 from the Hawai‘i Community Foundation’s Kaua‘i Island Fund.

The donated money was used to help pay for memorial, funeral and recovery expenses, said the foundation’s President and CEO Kelvin Taketa in a press release.

Deborah Rice, the foundation’s officer in Lihu‘e, is working with the YWCA of Kaua‘i, which has offered to help distribute the money.

Rice said that both residents and visitors came forward and gave generously.

“There was a real outpouring of support for the families who lost loved ones from the Ka Loko dam breach,” she said.

The YWCA’s Leila Fuller, director of fund development and finance, said that the YWCA has a long-standing relationship with the foundation.

“We asked if we could help in the distribution of the funds for the families because it was the minimum that we could do as a nonprofit agency,” she said.

Fuller pointed out that the tragedy affected her.

“My heart goes out to the families, especially to those families who have not recovered their loved ones,” said Fuller.

The foundation established the Kaua‘i fund on March 14.

“Individuals and corporations here and outside of Hawai‘i were quick to respond, making $10,000 in contributions to the Kaua‘i Island Fund within the first week of it being established,” said the foundation’s Taketa in the press release.

The foundation has been in contact with island officials, nonprofit organizations and others, including the impacted families, to identify needs that could not be covered by state, federal or nonprofit assistance, said Taketa in the release.

Established in 1916, the foundation is a statewide, charitable services and grantmaking institution that distributes money to nonprofit organizations through a variety of programs. The foundation also is a resource on philanthropy and community issues and trends.

Information about the Kaua‘i Island Fund should be directed to the foundation’s communications officer Kim Vierra in Honolulu toll-free 888-731-3863. People on Kaua‘i may contact Deborah Rice at 245-4585.

• Cynthia Kaneshiro, staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 252) or ckaneshiro@kauaipubco.com

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