Filipinos lead volcano relief efforts in Hawaii

Steve Angeles, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau

Posted at May 16 2018 05:25 PM

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PAHOA, Hawaii - Filipinos have been coming together to help families displaced by volcanic eruptions.

Ashley Kierkiewicz helped start the Pu’uhonua o Puna, shortly after the first volcanic eruption.

“In times of distress and trauma, the community just really pulls in together to take care of each other,” said Kierkiewicz.

Among the stacks of goods, children can be seen coming together while evacuees themselves volunteer at the site located just beyond the checkpoint that leads into the affected areas.

“Everything the you see here is a result of people’s kindness and generosity. We’re 100% community driven and funded,” she said.

Every day, their Facebook page announces what the center needs, as well as verified accounts of displaced families’ GoFundMe accounts.

But they are also on alert with their proximity close to the eruptions.

In Hilo, donations have been coming in at a local store. Aristotle Sacramento of Keaukaha General Store is ready do his part.

Sacramento knows what it’s like to experience natural disasters after witnessing typhoons while growing up in the Philippines. He also got a firsthand look at last year’s California wildfire damage while in the San Francisco Bay Area.

“Natural disasters, you just can’t do anything too much about, but stay positive, get together, and be one,” he said.

Since the eruptions began, the store has been piling up with goods and donations from locals.

While their location is on safer ground, they are not immune from the possibility of projectiles, and the poor air quality, but they said it won’t stop them from taking in items seven days a week.

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