By Felix Sunny D’Souza
In alignment with the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority’s Mālama Hawai‘i initiative, which encourages island visitors to give back to their destination, Maui Nō Ka ‘Oi is highlighting local resorts, restaurants and businesses that embody this effort and encourage their patrons to do so, as well. Here are some standouts worthy of recognition.
(1) Chocolate Laulima
Maui Ku‘ia Estate Chocolate, the largest chocolate factory in Hawai‘i, is supporting the Maui community with Chocolate Laulima (many hands), a cooperative program in which 40 percent of online retail sales go to fund a specific nonprofit. Simply visit the MKEC website, click on a link to the charity of your choice, then select from MKEC items on that page to purchase; a portion of that sale will directly benefit that charity. Partners in the program include Habitat for Humanity Maui, Hawaiian Islands Land Trust and the Whale Trust. What’s more, all ticket sales from MKEC’s Saturday chocolate-tasting tours are donated to the Maui Food Bank, and profits from the Sunday tours benefit a different Chocolate Laulima partner each week. mauichocolate.com | IG/FB @mauichocolate
(2) Reef Rescue
Cultural advisor Kimokeo Kapahulehua delivered a Hawaiian blessing at the groundbreaking ceremony for a wastewater pilot project in Kīhei. The event was hosted by the Maui Nui Marine Resource Council and Ridge to Reefs — nonprofits dedicated to the restoration and health of the Maui coral reef system — as well as Sunshine Vetiver Solutions, a company which cultivates a fast-growing grass with deep roots to help bind the soil and prevent erosion. This nature-based process will help manage and reuse treated wastewater coming out of the Kīhei Wastewater Reclamation Facility and reduce land-to-sea pollution.
“We are happy to see the progress Maui County is making to reuse its wastewater,” said Paul Sturm, founder and executive director of Ridge to Reefs. The ultimate goal of the project: 100 percent water reuse.
(3) Growing Community
Grow Some Good, a nonprofit dedicated to creating hands-on, outdoor learning experiences for youth, is distributing garden learning kits to participating elementary school teachers. The kits come complete with everything the students need to become successful “gardeners” — pots, soil, seeds, journals, coloring pencils and magnifying glasses. Over the course of two months, teachers and students use weekly training and activity videos to learn how to grow the plants at home or at school. At the end of the program, students may either keep their plants and continue to cultivate them, or they may return them to Grow Some Good and help support the community through organizations such as Hungry Homeless Heroes and The Maui Farm. GSG estimates the students’ donated plants could provide more than 10,000 meals for those in need. growsomegood.org | IG/FB @growsomegood