LIHU‘E — On Tuesday, “Free Masks” signs could be seen from the highway driving up into Tamba Surf Shop.
In Anahola, employees at Kalalea Juice Bar handed out masks as drivers waited in line entering a one-way construction zone.
And today, efforts today will be focused on the southern side of the island to deliver masks around
Every1 for One Hawai‘i, an O‘ahu-based nonprofit, organized an effort to bring 1.6 million masks from China. Of that, 100,000 of these masks were dropped off in Kaua‘i last Friday.
Lyndie Irons of the Andy Irons Foundation is Every1ne Hawai‘i’s lead partner on Kaua‘i for mask distribution. Irons got the call about the masks last Wednesday.
“Normally [events like these] takes weeks to get organized,” Irons said. But, she said, her network proved to come together quickly. “I am friends with a lot of other organizations and foundations [who wanted to help].”
Irons work with the Malama Foundation to organize masks to be packed with keiki breakfasts and lunches distributed by local schools and with the Hawai‘i Food Bank to add masks for kupuna delivery.
On Wednesday, ‘Ohana Shop in Ha‘ena set up masks for pick-up and also delivered these goods to the homes of residents. Koral McCarthy said the effort handed out over 5,000 masks to community members.
“It blew my mind how many people didn’t own a mask yet,” McCarthy said. “We got such an awesome response.”
Her sons spent the morning and afternoon traveling around their neighborhood on their bicycles delivering masks with gloves on, she said.
“A lot of people don’t want to leave their houses,” Irons said, so the idea to bring masks to them came up.
What really touched McCarthy’s heart, she said, was that people would offer to pay for the masks. “People were so touched that these were gifts to the community.”
The Kaua‘i Lifeguard Association has also gotten involved by delivering masks to the four main homeless encampments on the island.
“Wearing a mask during these difficult times is more about Aloha than anything else,” Irons said. “It protects your community more than it protects you.”
Today, masks will be distributed by Salt and Sea Kauai from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and in the Big Save Parking Lot in Port Allen. For more details visit anyironsfoundation.org.
Sabrina Bodon, public safety and government reporter, can be reached at 245-0441 or email@example.com.