Global Empowerment Mission in Maui rebuilds the community with swift recovery efforts

ByJanel Andronico Localish logo
Monday, March 11, 2024
Global Empowerment Mission in Maui rebuilds the community
Global Empowerment Mission - Maui delivers the most amount of aid, to the most amount of people in need, in the shortest amount of time.Here's how Global Empowerment Mission in Maui responds to the immediate and the long-term needs of disaster recovery.

MAUI, Hawaii -- Global Empowerment Mission (GEM) serves as a global humanitarian and disaster aid organization focused on swift recovery efforts.

Their goal: Deliver the most amount of aid, to the most amount of people in need, in the shortest amount of time.

To date, GEM has deployed over 355 disaster relief missions in 57 countries and all 50 states.

"(The organization) creates local chapters in all of the places it goes to, that are staffed and operated entirely by locals," explained Kainoa Horcajo from Global Empowerment Mission, Maui.

In 2023, the GEM - Maui chapter was created to provide disaster relief after the Lahaina wildfires.

GEM - Maui operates from Westside Distribution Center to provide food and supplies for community members.

"We package boxes, about 20-25 pound boxes of food donated to us by the Maui food bank and distribute them to impacted families," shared Horcajo. "At our height, we were doing about 2,000 boxes a week."

"We've definitely seen a huge volunteer reach out from visitors which is wonderful, and I feel like is not only helping them understand what is actually occurring here, but...setting a precedence of how to be as a person, to help other people that are in need," expressed Skye Dante, the Operations Manager at Westside Distribution Center.

Many of the volunteers come from the San Francisco Bay Area and California as a whole.

"People have always felt a connection to Maui, but especially coming from the Bay Area," said Horcajo. "We find that a lot of our volunteers here at the Westside Distribution Center are in fact from California, from areas that have gone through some sort of tragedy."

He added, "They want to give back, it's a sense of fellowship."

Through GEM - Maui's work, Horcajo feels that strong bonds and relationships have formed amongst the community and beyond.

"Speaking with someone in person, they might breakdown and begin to cry, and sometimes they just need a minute and sometimes they just need a hug," said Dante. "Not just a box of food or a case of water, but also a little bit of love and acceptance...we're all going through this together, and it's going to be okay."

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