LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Jill Munemitsu was only a few weeks into her first year as a kindergarten teacher at Steve Schorr elementary school when the Maui wildfires started. She said the devastation is too much to bear as she thinks of her family back home.
“Thankfully my family is all safe,” Munemitsu explained. “We have lost the home that my grandparents used to live in. My husband’s family is still on Maui and thankfully their homes are okay except for his uncle’s home where his grandparents used to live as well. They lost their home in the fire.”
That’s when fellow kindergarten teacher Kristan Nigro knew she had to jump in to help.
“In our school, we have a big Hawaiian community. I know we have a ton of families that were affected by what’s going on right now in Maui and that’s one of the things I feel like as an educator, I really try to help where I can,” said Nigro.
Nigro put on a community donation drive at the school and before she knew it boxes started to pile up.
“When I first put this message out, I was floored, in a good way, by how many people came together,” Nigro added. “Immediately day one, we were bringing carts back to this room, carts upon carts, and as you can see there’s a lot of good things that we need to get out. It makes me so proud of the community we live in.”
People have donated a number of items from contact solution to feminine hygiene products to even baby formula and more.
Munemitsu said the aid from the community makes her proud to live in the ninth island, a home away from home.
“When I started working here, I had that support right away. So after the fires Kristan had reached out to me and said that she wanted to do this drive. It was just overwhelming in the best way because they had only known me for a short time. To be able to say I want to help, I want to do something for the people of Lahaina, just brought me so much joy and made me feel like I was in the right place,” Munemitsu said.
While donations are still welcomed, Nigro and Munemitsu still need help on how to ship the items to Maui.
“I know that the people of Lahaina are strong, that the people of Hawaii are strong, and that we will get through this,” said Munemitsu. “We’ve seen so much footage and pictures of people coming together and the community coming together supporting each other. I know because of this and the aloha spirit, it’s so strong not only in Hawaii but here in Las Vegas that we’re going to make it through together.”
If you would like to help, you can contact Kristan Nigro at 702-799-1380 or you can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org