Hometown Heroes: HAKA ensures donated linens get to animal-serving organizations

  • The Hawaii Animal Kuleana Alliance (HAKA) recently distributed more than 10,000 pieces of linen to Hawaii Island animal rescues, sanctuaries, and vets, like Aloha Ilio Rescue in an effort to provide much-needed supplies to these organizations and businesses. The distribution was made possible thanks to an extremely generous donation by Hilton Waikoloa Village. (Courtesy photo/Special to West Hawaii Today)

Editor’s note: Each Wednesday, West Hawaii Today is publishing a story about individuals, groups or organizations that have helped make life better for others in our community during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Hawaii Animal Kuleana Alliance (HAKA) recently distributed more than 10,000 pieces of linen to Hawaii Island animal rescues, sanctuaries, and vets in an effort to provide much-needed supplies to these organizations and businesses. The distribution was made possible thanks to an extremely generous donation by Hilton Waikoloa Village.

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The hotel recently did some spring cleaning as it welcomed back guests, and rather than add even more to the island’s overburdened waste facilities, Hilton Waikoloa Village General Manager Simon Amos reached out to Waikoloa animal rescue volunteer Tracy Peters. As a HAKA volunteer she took the lead in making sure that the linens reached HAKA so that they could oversee the processing and distribution of this massive donation. HAKA was then able to deliver multiple bags of linens to various animal-serving organizations and businesses across the Island.

“Partnerships like these are so critical right now for our Island animals, and we are so grateful that Mr. Amos and Hilton Waikoloa Village were able to provide this donation that can be used islandwide by rescues and vets. With things currently in flux with Hawaii County animal control, we’d love to see more private donors step up to support the organizations who are currently providing a safety net for the animals and need extra resources,” said Hawaii Animal Kuleana Alliance Executive Director Syndi Texeira.

Linens included sheets, bathmats, bath towels, pool towels, wash cloths, and hand towels, all of which can be utilized for multiple purposes for the animals that these organizations and businesses serve.

“We’re glad these linens and towels will find a second life in the hands of Hawaii Animal Kuleana Alliance and their animal rescue partners,” said Amos. “Supporting organizations such as HAKA is so important – the work they do in rescue plays a major part in supporting a thriving Hawaii Island community for both people and animals.”

In addition to distributing the donation to other animal groups, HAKA has so far been able to use the towels to aid in their large animal rescue operations and have added the towels to their Shelter in Place Kits. These kits were created to help community members who may have found a lost animal over the Fourth of July weekend and needed extra support. The kits included food, treats, towels, puppy pads/litter boxes, gloves, water, and more.

HAKA has extended this program for the next couple of months to aid the county as it currently has a moratorium on animal intakes. Anyone who has found a lost animal and is holding them in place should fill out a “lost and found” report at bit.ly/HAKAlostNfound that will be forwarded to Animal Control. They can then text a request for a Shelter in Place Kit to 808.747.3373.

Any rescues or vets who may have been inadvertently missed during the first distributions can still receive a donation of linens by emailing info@808haka.org.

“We were really excited to get some much-needed towels and sheets to these Big Island rescues and vets who we’ve had a relationship with over the past few years. We know we’ve missed a few folks, and we are excited to start new relationships, so we hope that they will reach out so we can get some of this generous donation in their hands, too,” Texeira said.

HAKA is currently recruiting volunteers for its programs including their Animal Emergency Rescue Training in the fall. For more information on how to volunteer, donate, or support HAKA, including how to follow them on social media, visit linktr.ee/808HAKA.

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HAKA was founded in 2018 as the Hawaii Lava Flow Animal Rescue Network, a Facebook group and network of volunteers created to aid in the 2018 Kilauea eruption in Lower Puna. After the eruption subsided, HLFARN continued to aid Hawaii Island’s animals and the people who love them, eventually gaining official nonprofit status under the Hawaii Animal Kuleana Alliance name.

Know a Hometown Hero who should be highlighted next Wednesday? It can be anybody, from a youngster doing good for the community, to a professional helping with the COVID-19 pandemic, or even a kupuna! Please send your nominations to cjensen@westhawaiitoday.com with the subject: Hometown Heroes Nomination. Please include the hero’s name, contact information and what makes them a hero.

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