A Light in the Darkness—Local Institutions Stepping Up and Doing Good

Posted in: People

We’ve been reading a lot of bad news these days. It’s true, though, that when times are tough is when you’ll often see people at their best. The same applies to businesses who will often use their resources to help out others who need a hand.

Koolau Distillery - Hand Sanitizer
Ko‘olau Distillery CEO and partner Eric Dill, distilling alcohol for hand sanitizer [Image Ko‘olau Distillery]

Normally in the business of producing fine spirits that can be found in restaurants, bars and grocery stores, Maui-based Hawaii Sea Spirits and Ko‘olau Distillery on O‘ahu's Windward side have shifted a portion of their operations towards producing hand sanitizer. As the island, and the nation as a whole, faces unprecedented shortages of sanitizer and other disinfecting agents, these manufactures saw an opportunity to use their know-how and the equipment they have on hand to help fill this dire need. This isn't for the general public, however. They're currently donating specifically to organizations that are first responders, civil service agencies or healthcare workers.

Meanwhile, Min’s Plastics, a local distributor and fabricator of plastic products has taken to producing acrylic face shields for our medical facilities. As the number of coronavirus cases rise in the state, there’s been an anticipation of a surge in need of basic supplies, including gear to protect our medical professionals as they treat our population. As of this writing, Min’s Plastics has donated 2500 face shields medical workers—in two days—and they’re still going. This will be an invaluable help to our local medical facilities in the coming days and weeks.

Min's Plastic face shields
A view of the face shields being manufactured and donated by Min's Plastics [Image MIn's Plastics]

Aloha Harvest is a non-profit that gathers food that’s set to be discarded from grocery stores, restaurants and other food service establishments, and donates it to charitable organizations that feed the hungry. These days, they’ve been working overtime. With the coronavirus having forced the cancelation of pretty much all scheduled events, and many restaurants and eateries being forced to downsize their operations, there’s been an extraordinary overabundance of food that would otherwise be discarded. By working with local partners like Pili Group and the Weinberg Foundation, Aloha Harvest been able to ensure that over 40,000 lbs. (so far) of food is rescued from the dumpster and goes to those who really need it. 

Aloha Harvest
Aloha Harvest, seen here in Waikīkī rescuing food to feed Hawai‘i's hungry [Photo Aloha Harvest]

And in these troubled times, with reduced paychecks, supply shortages, price gouging and suddenly high unemployment rates, having these institutions step-up to help their community has been priceless. These acts won’t soon be forgotten.

We’re seeing this phenomenon everywhere, in ways large and small. From the businesses who are offering special coronavirus discounts, to the neighbor that’s picking up supplies for their elderly neighbor, there’s a lot of good that can be seen shining through all this darkness. Call it the “Aloha Spirit,” call it the innate goodness of humans—whatever it is, it’s clearly what the world needs now.


Ko‘olau Distillery partner and CEO Eric Dill, distilling alcohol for hand sanitizer [Image Ko‘olau Distillery]


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