Kauai needs your time, your talents, your heart and, most importantly, your elbow grease.
Yes, we’re talking about volunteering. Not everyone likes to volunteer, as it’s not convenient and makes demands on our time. But when you do it, it makes you and your community better.
Starting Monday, there are many chances to volunteer, and we urge you to step up, get out of your comfort zone, and help this island you call home be the best it can.
Here’s what’s going on:
Kauai will be celebrating Volunteer Week April 8 through April 13 with six days of service across each of the island’s moku (districts).
The third year of this annual event will be focused on the theme of “resilience,” as the week coincides with the one-year anniversary of the beginning of the April 2018 flood.
“There is no greater act than to serve others, and if there’s one thing I know about Kauai is that we are a service community,” said Mayor Derek S.K. Kawakami. “Our spirits were put to the test last year as weather emergencies devastated our island. I say ‘devastated,’ but not destroyed. Because Kauai people together are strong, resilient, and exemplify the aloha spirit beyond comparison. I am very thankful for our hard-working volunteers, and I am proud to support Volunteer Week to honor those who continue to give their time and effort to make our community a better place.”
The dates, places and tasks for each service day are:
• April 8
Waioli Valley ‘auwai
Support the Waioli Valley Taro Farmers Hui to improve water systems that feed their lo‘i (taro patches) and prevent future flooding events. Bring water bottles, rain boots or tabis, and tools. Some tools and lunch will be provided. 8:30 a.m. to noon, Waioli Park by the Wai‘oli Hui‘ia Church (green church); RSVP, firstname.lastname@example.org or 828-0685, ext. 11
• April 9
Surfrider beach cleanup at Anahola Beach
Help clean up Anahola Beach from recent storms that have caused downstream blockage. Bring water bottles, sun protection and gloves. 9 a.m. to noon. Meet at Anahola Beach Park; RSVP, email@example.com or 635-2593
Kumano I Ke Ala
Pitch in on the revitalization of kalo lo‘i in West Kauai at Kakalae in Makaweli and help clear debris left from recent storms. Wear closed-toed shoes, bring water bottles and lunches. 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Meet at Waimea River swinging bridge; RSVP: 346-9463 or firstname.lastname@example.org
• April 11
Ke Kula Ni‘ihau O Kekaha Public Charter School
Help revitalize and spruce up the garden. Join in weeding and planting for the students to be able to plant fresh vegetables for their school lunches. 9 a.m. to noon. 8135 Kekaha Road, Kekaha; RSVP: 828-0685, ext. 11
• April 12
Hanakapi‘ai Trail Restoration
Following last year’s flood, the Hanakapi‘ai Trail is still closed and inaccessible. Residents local to the area are invited to help malama the trail to work toward its reopening. If possible, bring machetes, rakes, hand clippers, shovels, saws and gloves. Limited volunteer capacity. Access only to those who live north of the checkpoint. 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Meet at the end of the road at Ke‘e; RSVP: 828-0685, ext. 11
• April 13
Hawaii Foodbank’s annual food drive
Celebrate the end of the week and join the 10th annual Hawaii Foodbank drive on Kauai to raise funds and food to provide meals to those who are hungry. Free T-shirt, lunch. 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Various locations. RSVP and info, email@example.com or 482-2224, ext. 333
The public is encouraged to participate, and asked to RSVP to the events they’ll be attending. Groups and businesses are invited to consider “adopting an event” to bring their teams together for team-building and a way to give back to the community.
Info: Sarah at 828-0685, ext. 11, firstname.lastname@example.org
Kawakami said the county could not afford to pay for the countless hours of work accomplished by AmeriCorps and Senior Corps volunteers on Kauai.
He recently joined thousands of other government leaders across the country to acknowledge and thank the volunteers for their contributions on National Service Recognition Day, the annual initiative being led by the Corporation for National and Community Service, the National League of Cities, the National Association of Counties and Cities of Service.
More than two dozen individuals representing both the AmeriCorps and Senior Corps took time from their volunteerism to enjoy a mayoral proclamation and light refreshments before returning to their volunteer positions.
Donna Olivas Kaohi said Kauai Retired and Senior Volunteer Program said volunteers put in about 30,000 hours a year at different government offices and private-sector locations they work at. The Foster Grandparents program, operating under the Senior Corps program, finished 2018 with more than 19,000 hours spread over 25 people.
Volunteers change lives by making this world a better place. This week, we have an opportunity to volunteer in many ways. Please do what you can.