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Shinnyo-en and Nā Lei Aloha Foundation offer donation to Maui United Way

September 05, 2023

Illustration featuring the Lokelani rose, a pink flower that is a symbol of Maui. In the background are the words “Kōkua Maui” set on a blue, textured field.

Maui, Hawaiʻi / Artwork courtesy of Boz Schurr

Blazes that began in early August have caused extensive devastation on Maui. More than 100 have been confirmed lost to the fires, and many are missing. In response to the wildfires, Shinnyo-en has mobilized to offer prayer and monetary donations in support of those affected.

“The whole of the Shinnyo-en community offers prayers of merit to those who have lost their lives to the fires on the island of Maui,” expressed Shinnyo-en Venerables Takashi Torikai and Seiji Nishikawa. “We feel the devastation of the Lahaina community deeply. It is our hope that this donation will support the local response and help meet the immediate needs of affected families.”

“First and foremost, we want to show support for those on the ground in Maui,” shared Charlene Flanter, co-executive director of Nā Lei Aloha Foundation. “We hope this donation will help provide for the needs of those who have suffered so much loss and for those who have been working around the clock to offer them relief.”

Shinnyo-en has a long history with Hawai`i, dating back to 1970 when founder Master Shinjo Ito first visited the islands. For over 20 years Shinnyo-en has held Shinnyo Lantern Floating Hawai`i on the shores of O’ahu, which is also home to a large community of Shinnyo-en practitioners and a temple.

“My father, Shinjo Ito, the founder of Shinnyo-en, felt a deep sense of kinship with the people of Hawai`i and respected their profound spiritual connection to the land,” shares Her Holiness Shinso Ito. “When I visited Hawai`i with him in 1970 to offer prayers at the USS Arizona Memorial, I felt that same natural affinity for the people and place. Our hearts break as we witness the devastation on Maui and the terrible losses suffered in Hawai`i.”

Shinnyo-en has partnered with Nā Lei Aloha Foundation to make a donation of US$100,000 to Maui United Way, and will continue to monitor the situation and relief efforts and share updates and future efforts.

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