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HHMH Raises Over $400,000 in Maui Relief Donations

More than $400,000 has been raised for Maui relief by the Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii (HHMH) as of Sept. 12, including an outpouring of donations from throughout the BCA, Nishi Hongwanji headquarters in Japan, as well as the Canada Kyodan.


“Mahalo for your generous contributions as we support our Dharma friends and Maui residents affected by the devastating wildfires,” said Kona Hongwanji Buddhist Temple Resident Minister Rev. Blayne Higa, chair of the HHMH’s Committee on Social Concerns. “The outpouring of aloha has been inspiring and healing for our community. We are grateful for your continued support as we help the members of Lahaina Hongwanji and others along the long road to recovery.”


The HHMH’s Committee on Social Concerns has processed $2,000 “Omimai” (contribution of support) for each member of Lahaina Hongwanji and other members of the Hawaii Kyodan who have been impacted by the wildfires, totaling $210,000. The Maui Wildfire Emergency Response Ad-Hoc Committee provided the list of recipients.


Omimai was sent to Rev. Ai Hironaka of Lahaina Hongwanji Mission, Rev. Gensho Hara of the Lahaina Jodo Mission, and to Rev. Takayuki Meguro of the Lahaina Shingon Mission.


The wildfires in Maui, which struck on Aug. 8, have led to at least 97 deaths as of Sept. 29, making it the deadliest U.S. wildfire in more than a century. The Lahaina Hongwanji Mission was devastated by the wildfires. The temple Hondo, the minister’s residence, the temple office, the social hall and the old Japanese school building were all destroyed.


According to photos, it appears that the temple’s Nokotsudo (columbarium) may be intact. But damage to the building remains unknown. As of Sept. 28, Rev. Hironaka, temple President Aileen Cockett and temple members were not permitted to enter the temple property.


Hawaii Kyodan Headquarters reported that one of the temple members who was on the list of those missing as a result of the wildfires was recently confirmed to have passed away.


About half of the Lahaina Hongwanji members, including Rev. Hironaka and his family, were displaced after the fire.


The Jodo Shinshu Hongwanji-ha in Kyoto, Japan, also made a generous contribution to the Maui relief efforts, donating $10 million yen to the Hawaii Kyodan, and $1 million yen for the state of Hawaii.


Honzan has also launched a fundraising campaign and are actively soliciting donations from those who reside in Japan.


Monshu Kojun Ohtani, Urakata Lady Ruzumi Ohtani, Monshu Emeritus Koshin Ohtani, and Urakata Emeritus Lady Noriko Ohtani also sent messages of condolences and sympathies to Rev. Hironaka and Lahaina Hongwanji members.


The Jodo Shinshu Hongwanji-ha Buddhist Women’s Federation of Japan provided financial aid to Hawaii Kyodan to be used by Rev. Hironaka to purchase the necessary robes and supplies for his ministerial duties.


Through the HHMH’s Social Welfare Fund, $28,000 was given to various organizations and affected individuals to immediately support relief efforts on Maui, including Hawaii Community Foundation’s Maui Strong Fund, Maui Food Bank, Hawaii Red Cross and the Makawao Hongwanji for their support of evacuees and first responders.


Donations can be made online through: https://bca.kindful.com/, or by check payable to: BCA Endowment Foundation (Please note on memo line: Maui Relief). Mail checks to: BCA Endowment Foundation, 2140 Durant Ave., Berkeley, CA 94704.


People can find additional updates on the Maui fire disaster from Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii, including ways to donate, by using the shortcut link: http://honpahi.link/fire.


“Mahalo for your continued support,” Rev. Higa said. “Your Dana is truly making a difference during this extraordinary time of need.”


Rev. Brian Nagata contributed to this article.


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