The Aloha Initiative is a program of the Japanese Cultural Society of Maui to provide citizens of Japan temporary respite from the March earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis.
Japan residents selected for the program are being flown to Hawaii to spend up to 90 days with volunteer host families on Oahu and Maui.
Contributions for The Aloha Initiative will be accepted at any First Hawaiian Bank Branch in Hawaii through July 30.
Funds donated by individuals and businesses, including First Hawaiian Bank, Relativity Media, and Mana Foods, are being used by The Aloha Initiative to purchase discounted airfares made possible by Japan Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines for travel from Japan to Hawaii.
Hawaiian Airlines has also provided complimentary inter-island airfare for the Japanese participants.
The first group of 68 Japanese survivors arrived in Hawaii on July 4, followed by a second group of 28 Japanese students and chaperones to spend 19 days on Maui for respite care following the devastation of the March 11 Japan earthquake and tsunami.
First Hawaiian Bank's fundraising efforts to date have exceeded over $1.5 million in donations in support of Japan’s recovery, including a $25,000 donation to The Aloha Initiative.
On March 11, the bank established the “Japan-Hawaii Relief Fund,” contributing the first $117,000 to the fund that eventually collected the equivalent of 100 million Yen for the Japanese Red Cross Society.
FHB also waived wire transfer fees for funds to Japan during March and April, and the bank was one of the partners of Aloha for Japan, a partnership of business and government to raise funds for the American Red Cross in support of the organization’s relief efforts.
On June 16, the staff at the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa assisted in creating a community garden at Lahainaluna High School. Funding for the garden was provided to the school through a grant from the state Department of Health. The idea is to promote healthy eating and exercise. Students at LHS and other Maui schools will be able to use fruits and vegetables from their gardens in their meals at school, and also sell their extra produce to markets and restaurants. Photo by the Hyatt.