TMT Hilo office makes keiki stress relief kits for families affected by Hawaii Island volcanic activity

//TMT Hilo office makes keiki stress relief kits for families affected by Hawaii Island volcanic activity

Aloha everyone, firstly I want to thank everyone for all the donations of activities and goodies for the keiki of Puna who were displaced by the lava flows. In just the last week the number of people at the shelters has increased due to the increase in activity and degassing in the area. We recently visited one such shelter located at the Pahoa Community Center and here is what we experienced/did.

As we walked around to each tent, we spoke to the residents. Many families and residents of the shelter do not have long-term plans right now, and have said this will be their new norm until they can figure out what to do. Their housing is either under the gym roof sleeping on cots with no walls between them; living outside in the parking lot, the grass fields, or under a support buildings awning in either tents, tarps or a combination of both.

When we arrived at a tent with keiki, we spoke to their parents and handed out the bags of goodies.  The keiki immediately excitedly began to dig in, with exclamations of: ‘Cool’, ‘Wow’, and ‘Awesome’. They started to color, they chased each other with the LED finger lights, or broke open the card games and books. Their smiles were precious and priceless.

The parents were still in shock from the situation and wanted to talk. We spent time listening to their stories and told them they’re not alone or forgotten. We told them we will be back with round two of deliveries with new activities. They wanted me to pass on their gratitude to all of you for thinking of their keiki.

Below you can see the photos of what went into the Keiki Stress Relief bags, round 1 and round two. You will also see some of our volunteer bag stuffers.

Mahalo again for helping to make this happen, every one of you and your organizations helped make that happen. For just a little while, we gave them a break from their reality. As we told the parents, we’ll be doing a round two of deliveries, hopefully it will be a welcomed relief for the kids.

Mahalo,
Virginia

A short list of donors include:

  • TMT
  • Gemini
  • Subaru
  • Maunakea VIS Center
  • OMKM
  • CSO
  • CFHT
  • NASA/JPL
  • Christopher Phillips, University of Washington
  •  Wilson Waldrop, director of IT, University of Washington
  •  Dr Kim Bott, Dept of Astronomy, University of Washington
  • HELCO

More donors are always welcome. If you’d like to help, please contact us.