After the recent devastating floods in Kauai, Hanalei and the surrounding areas need our help. To encourage donations to the affected communities, 100% of the proceeds for these new long-sleeve aloha shirts will be given to local flood relief efforts. Please join me in doing whatever we can to help this beautiful island get back on its feet. Continue reading for my personal tale on how my love for Hanalei developed, and the inspiring community spirit I encountered on a recent trip to the island.
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I can’t imagine anyone spending time on the North Shore of Kauai and not falling in love with it. For me, it was Hanalei, the cozy, lush Hawaiian town that had me hooked, with its dense jungle, welcoming community, picturesque mountains, fun waves—I could go on for days. In my mind, it’s the most magical place on earth, and to see the ruin that’s taken place as a result of Mother Nature’s recent floodings, record rainfall, and destructive landslides is devastating.
Just a few days ago, I returned home from Kauai after seeing a lot of the damage myself. It’s heartbreaking and truly moving to make your way through the most beautiful lush landscapes, but only to be stopped in your tracks at a glimpse of a washed-away hillside or a home that’s collapsing in the middle. One look over at the breathtaking mountain peaks that watch over Hanalei, and you notice multiple flowing waterfalls from a distance—a beautiful, yet dangerous sign of the amount of water that’s surging below.
What was most incredible was experiencing the spirit and strength of the community—seeing how they’ve banded together to quickly clean up the island they love so much. Residents, businesses, and non-profit groups are constantly working together to clean up the streets and beaches and raise money for the families who have lost their homes. There’s a sense of the community standing tall with a serious love and pride for their home, while recognizing the frightening power of Mother Nature.
Luckily, the farms that feed the people of the island are also being taken care of by the community, as a number of organized volunteer days have already taken place. My fiance and I spent a day at Kealia Farm near Kapaa helping clear out the waste that had been spread over the land when the river overflowed. As we worked in groups to separate wood, metal, and plastic, a man pulled out a kid’s toy bike shaped like a tractor that had been washed away from its little owner. Holding it up to the group, he joked, “You think I can claim insurance on my tractor?” The group of locals, visitors, and young ones alike all got a kick out of it, and quickly got back to work with a smirk on their faces. Whole families were working hard together, from little kids to aunties in their ‘60s—some of which were offering warm meals, fresh water, and kind words of encouragement to the group.
My experience was small yet powerful, which leads me to my own way of helping. Today marks the launch of my first “new” product that’s outside the world of vintage—a comfy, perfectly baggy long-sleeve aloha shirt. To encourage donations, all proceeds from the sale of these shirts will be given to the Hanalei-Ha'ena Flooding Fund and the Waipa Foundation (a non-profit organization), both of which have been instrumental in providing short- and long-term relief to the families in the area that need it the most to rebuild and get back on their feet.
To all parts of Kauai that were affected, including Wainiha, Ha’ena, Hanalei, and Waipa, our thoughts and prayers go out to you and your families. Please stay safe.