Former CNMI residents who now reside in Hawaii held a successful relief drive for their home islands as the container they will be shipping for victims of Typhoon Soudelor is close to being full. The relief drive started Friday and ended yesterday, Aug. 23.
Lawrence “L.J.” Duenas, who created the public group, said they nearly filled up the 40-foot container on their first day alone.
The group has been able to secure a 40-foot container from Matson Navigation, while Pacific Transfer of Hawaii—a trucking company—will transport the container.
Although American Red Cross CNMI Chapter would not be able to receive the container here on Saipan, Duenas said he has contacted Empty Vessel Ministry volunteer Diana Benavente to receive the container.
One member of the group, Carina Train, separately set up an Indiegogo fundraising campaign for Saipan. Train, born and raised on the island of Oahu, Hawaii, had the opportunity to live on Saipan for a few years.
Train’s campaign, called “Sending ALOHA to Saipan,” targets to raise $1,500 for Saipan. So far it has been able to raise $805.
On behalf of Empty Vessel Ministry, Benavente thanked Duenas, Belvilyn Fleming, Carina Train, Dion Mesta, Joe Lifoifoi, Jay Aldan, and others behind the relief drive.
“With the help from Matson Navigation, Pacific Transfer, Safeway, former Honolulu mayor Mufi Hannemann, Sen. Glenn Wakai, and the Hawaii community, they are anticipating a bountiful and successful drive to collect relief items that are in need here on Saipan,” Benavented said.
“Our people, no matter the distance or time, hold dear to their heart the root of our upbringing and perseverance of our island community. This, I feel is the underlying force behind all their efforts and I commend them for that,” she added.