LAHAINA - The invitations have been sent. The media has been notified. It's the do-good, fun event of the year - the 15th Annual Lahaina Town Clean Up planned for Saturday, Sept. 21.
Produced by the LahainaTown Action Committee (LAC), the no-waste environmental action draws hundreds with a collective will to malama our beloved hometown.
The force of volunteers will scour over seven miles for trash of all sizes, shapes and materials, including several neighborhoods, two boat harbors, seven surf spots and Lahaina Town proper, commencing at Kamehameha Iki Park at 8 a.m.
Join the coalition of thousands across the planet, as Maui joins International Coastal Clean Up Day to make a global difference on the health of our shorelines.
Organizer Matt Lane's focus is on "engaging our youth," and his outreach has attracted an impressive number of students.
"Thousands of youth have volunteered for this event for over 15 years," he said.
"We are going to have an after event at Whalers Village," he explained, adding, "a lot of our local surf brand sponsors will be giving away prizes for the volunteers, and we will be making a video for the town of the cleanup this year."
Todd Hayase has been a counselor at Lahaina Intermediate School for the past 26 years; and, majorly, the coordinator of the school's Renaissance Program.
"Over the years, we have helped Matt with the cleanup through our Renaissance Program. Students volunteered for community service hours to help them qualify for their quarterly Renaissance cards. Over the years, this event has grown and now covers a really large area of Lahaina Town. Students giving back to their hometown and community is huge. Westside Pride," Hayase observed.
The Lahainaluna High School Aloha Club donates their time as well.
Tara Nakata and Tracy Poouahi are the staff members coordinating the club's extracurricular activities.
"Our club is a community service organization, and this will be our third year participating in this event. We are one of several school organizations, including Student Council, that participates in the cleanup," Nakata advised.
"This year, the Aloha Club will be cleaning up Lahainaluna Road from the high school down to the smokestack," Nakata continued.
"I can't speak on behalf of the students about what they found fun about the event," she added, "but I can say that it has been wonderful to participate in the cleanup. I think that students felt that our contributions were worthwhile, and I applaud them for generously giving up their Saturday to come together and care for our community.
"The students seemed to have gained an awareness about the trash and how quickly it accumulates. I'd like to think that they were reflecting on their habits as we picked up. It was extremely gratifying for them to see our bags fill, knowing that there was one less piece of plastic, one less cigarette butt, one less takeout container littering our space."
Underlying support of this campaign is massive, including merchants, restaurateurs, retailers, non-profits, teachers, residents, surf school operators, resorts and boat companies.