LIHU‘E — Kaua’i resident Nathalie Kelly took a proactive approach to help island residents financially affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
During Kelly’s search to find a national volunteer group, she was introduced to a national organization called The Pandemic Of Love.
This nonprofit, mutual-aid organization connects volunteers to aid people impacted by the pandemic.
Kelly contacted the founder of the national organization, Shelly Tygielski, whose headquarters is in Florida.
The national chapter boasts 650 volunteers and 200,000 matches between people and families in need, and over $25.1 million in direct transactions since the organization started March 14.
“It spoke to my heart knowing all of the people who faced economic challenges,” Kelly said. “That is the island spirit. We are going out and taking care of each other, and supporting each other in whatever needs may arise.”
The Pandemic of Love-Kaua’i tries to link volunteers with people in need.
The criteria to receive assistance from a patron is individuals who need help with essentials.
“The need is based on financial needs, if someone wanted to buy groceries or pay for an electric bill,” Kelly said. “They would accommodate that to someone who doesn’t have the funds to do it.”
Kelly, a brain-recovery coach for brainrecovery.com, paired up with Steve Cole, a Realtor with Elite Pacific Realty, to make this local chapter come to fruition in early June after negotiations with Tygielski.
Both Kelly and Cole live in Anahola.
Cole said he feels lots of community members are suffering unrecognized economic hardships.
“Many people get left in the cracks where they don’t get any help from the government,” Cole said. “There is an over-abundance of payments and people stuck in their situations. That is where the Pandemic of Love can fill in the gap.”
Anna Myers, one of the Pandemic of Love’s 14 volunteers, is a retired yoga and fitness instructor who lives in Princeville. She said she likes the flexibility of the program.
“I love that I can give money directly to a person who needs it,” Myers said. “There is no middle man, and you know right away who the expenses are helping. You can have direct contact with that person who needs your help.”
Myers and her husband, originally from Colorado, have lived on the North Shore of Kaua‘i for over 20 years.
“It’s great to help the community of Kaua‘i,” Myers said. “I like being able to give people the help they need. It’s a win-win program, and things are going to be tighter for many people in the forthcoming weeks and months.”
For more information on the Pandemic of Love, for donors or those seeking help, see the Facebook page, fb.me/PandemicOfLoveKauai.
Jason Blasco, sports reporter, can be reached at 245-0437 or firstname.lastname@example.org.