ANAHOLA — In an island-wide effort, north to west, surfboards, bodyboards and other gear made its way into the hands of children these past few days thanks to the efforts of donors looking to bring some cheer.
Early Wednesday, over 20 kids picked up items in the first Kaua‘i Keiki Christmas drop off. And it all started with a Facebook post.
Sam Martin was trying to sell a surfboard.
“A guy was trying to rip me off and buy the board for cheaper for what I wanted, and I thought I’d rather give the board away to someone who needs it,” Martin said.
So he re-posted the board online for free and asked if anybody else had boards they wanted to give to kids.
“All of a sudden, I had more stuff than I had to giveaway,” Martin said.
With that, he mobilized with some friends to help, getting local businesses and organizations to participate.
In the end, Martin counted around 50 surfboards, 22 bodyboards, nine pairs of fins, hats, masks, sunscreen and more from over a thousand donors to amount in about $25,000 in donations.
“I’m a surfer, growing up around here not being able to surf because your family can’t afford it, that keeps me grounded as a local boy,” Martin said. “I want to connect the island so that everywhere on the island gets the same stuff.”
Kaua‘i County Councilmember Billy DeCosta agreed. DeCosta helped with the project, assisting in making connections around the island. At the Anahola hand-off, DeCosta kicked off the event asking keiki to say something nice to the person next to them.
“We all have to be accountable, bridging the gaps,” DeCosta said. “That’s how you build resilience.”
After Anahola, the team trekked west into Kapa‘a and moved to beach park camps handing off goodies at Lydgate and Salt Pond, too, before heading into Waimea and Kekaha.
On Thursday, Martin and the team visited Wainiha and Anini, too.
“We went did the whole island,” Martin said. “Next year, I think we can go bigger.”
He hopes to start a nonprofit and give more in 2021. Some sponsors this year included Tamba, Discovery Land Company, Neil and Melissa Norman, Modern Hawaiian Collective, Da Hui, North Shore Preserve, ‘Ohana Shop, So iLL, Kamoa Ukelele, Quicksilver and Hanalei Taro &Juice.
“Hopefully we’re giving gifts to people who might not ever get one,” Martin said.