Kalihi families devastated by Darby touched by outpouring of aloha

Residents at Hale Umi Condominiums in Kalihi remain some of the hardest hit victims from Tropical Storm Darby.

But they’re getting help, and more is pouring in each day.

Many lost nearly all of their belongings when floodwaters came crashing through their units Sunday night. Most of the families do not have the additional flood insurance to help them recover.

That means they’re relying on the spirit of aloha which, as they’re finding out, is showing up in a big way.

We’ve been getting lots of calls and emails from people who want to help, so KHON2’s Laulima Giving Program is stepping in to coordinate the effort to get the victims exactly what they need most.

Twelve-year-old Zoe Fukuda-Seki is strumming her favorite instrument again after entertainer Carole Kai dropped off an ukulele Wednesday morning.

Of all the things she lost in the flood, she told us that the ukulele is what she missed most.

“I’m really happy and excited to start playing again, because if you haven’t seen, it broke into pieces and the strings are all bouncy,” she said.

Several people reached out to us wanting to donate ukuleles that are worth hundreds of dollars each.

RAW UMI ST DONATIONS

Foodland stopped and handed out gift cards to all the families. Fisher Hawaii pledged to donate school supplies for the children.

Others stopped by to donate, saying they were touched by Fukuda-Seki’s resiliency.

“She’s struggling to grow up and to have something like this happen to her and to have everything just disappear,” said Francine Matsuura, who donated an iPad and hula supplies.

The family is overwhelmed and grateful, but also points out that other families in the building are trying to get back their lives back in order.

“Thank you everybody for all your support and love. We really appreciate it,” said Faith Aiello, Zoe’s mother.

“Maybe you can help other people as much as I need it. They need it as well so they can use it too, because I think I have enough stuff already,” Fukuda-Seki suggested.

Keiki O Ka Aina met with the families Wednesday to gather a list of items they need, and a collection is underway to help. You can get more information on what families need and how you can donate here.

Keep in mind, the families are basically starting over, so furniture, clothes, appliances will all come in handy, as well as volunteers to help with the cleanup and repairs.

“A lot of them are saying, ‘I gotta go to work tomorrow.’ They’re going to have to go out and get something to wear so cash is going to be helpful, and then in the long-run, all the other things,” said Momi Akana of Keiki O Ka Aina.

There’s still plenty of work ahead, but families are relieved that they’re getting some help.

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