LIHU‘E — There are now T-shirts floating around the island sporting the faces of Mel Rapozo and Charlie Iona, and with references to the live show they’ve been hosting on Facebook, “The Mel and Charlie Live Show.”
And Monday, Darcie Yukimura, director of community philanthropy with the Hawai’i Community Foundation (HCF) received a check for $6,200, for the HCF Kaua‘i Strong Fund, a donation from those T-shirt proceeds meant to go toward helping the Kaua‘i community.
Iona and Rapozo partnered with Kirk Correa, owner of Island Athletic T’s, to make the shirts which simultaneously promote their social-media show and help support local families.
The show has become a popular platform for people on Kaua‘i, and has some viewership from the Mainland, with the goal of informing and educating on relevant topics and Kaua‘i-specific issues. The format is live and unscripted, including guest interviews. Correa came up with the T-shirt idea while watching the show.
“I was watching their show and they are awesome in their show. Everything they were talking about what was going on and keeping everyone updated. I just thought about giving back to the community,” said Correa. “Continue to watch the ‘Mel and Charlie show’ and they will keep you updated on what’s going on.”
Rapozo said he wasn’t convinced at first, and thought: “Nobody going to buy that thing. Then the shirt sold. The second shirt sold more, and we had a little over a hundred Mel and Charlie shirts sold.”
Iona pointed out the comical phrases or general public announcements printed on the shirts, like: ‘Mel and Charlie Show…Flatten the Curve,’ and ‘Don’t be a …Doo doo boi’, chosen “because it was funny.”
Rapozo said shirts have been sent to viewers in California, New Mexico, New York, Florida, Idaho, Japan and Nevada.
“What made it also special is just the outpour of people who wanted to help. Especially with this time, loss of jobs, people really didn’t have much, and we understood that. My wife is involved on the Westside with all the food distributions,” said Iona.
“When we tried to do this, the people themselves said they couldn’t help that much but we can maybe buy one shirt. That’s how the thing really kicked off, thanks to Kirk and Mel’s vision.”
The decision to donate proceeds to the Hawai‘i Community Foundation’s Kaua‘i Strong Fund came after having Yukimura on their show. She said she was honored to be part of formulating that idea.
“It just reminds me that when we say ‘Kaua‘i strong’ we really do pull together, and that’s our strength,” said Yukimura. “I’m honored, and I was honored to be on their show, and I think they provided such a valuable resource to the community.”
Other guests on the Mel and Charlie show have included government officials, entertainers and local decision-makers.
“We had Congressman Ed Case the other night, Lt. Gov. Josh Green been on our show a few times, and (state) Senate President Ron Kouchi has been instrumental as well,” said Rapozo.
“It’s very hard to narrow it down to one (memorable show),” said Rapozo. “We also had comedians like Augie T on one show, and Augie T and Frank De Lima on another show.”
The “Mel and Charlie Live Show” T-shirts are available and can be ordered on 808-tees.myshopify.com/
Stephanie Shinno, features and community reporter, can be reached at 245-0424 or email@example.com.