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TRUE STRENGTH: Giving Back Through Unimaginable Losses

TRUE STRENGTH: Giving Back Through Unimaginable Losses

TRUE STRENGTH: Giving Back Through Unimaginable Losses - ShopYWCA

Alexis Kudu spent a majority of her time on Maui living and working in the vibrant town of Lahaina. She had moved to Wailuku just five months ago, seeking new beginnings and opportunities for her small business, Kudu Made. The move might have been a blessing in disguise as the town she had come to love would soon be engulfed in a devastating wildfire that would test her strength and resilience.

We have previously featured Alexis, as she shared her pandemic ‚Äúpivot‚ÄĚ project with a little bit of creativity and a sewing machine. (link to original article:HEADS UP: Keeping your head up with Alexis ‚Äď ShopYWCA)

As the wildfires raged through Lahaina, Alexis monitored helplessly as two shops where she sells her head bands -  the Maui Pineapple Store and Jasmine's Boutique, were consumed by the flames. Her other customers, scattered all over the island, temporarily halted their orders, leaving her business in dire straits. The sudden loss of multiple wholesale orders hit her hard, but she was not alone in facing this hardship.

Alexis's husband, too, felt the impact of the disaster. His working hours for a hotel were significantly reduced and the restaurant where he worked has been turned into ashes. The couple faced not only financial challenges but also the emotional toll of seeing their beloved town and friends suffer.

The sense of community on Maui, however, shone through the darkness. People rallied together, donating, fundraising, making trips to and from Lahaina with essential supplies, and opening their homes to those in need. Alexis and her family found themselves in their two-bedroom condo becoming a temporary haven for five extra people and a dog, on top of their own family of four.

Their plans for the future had to be adjusted in light of the crisis. Their immediate focus was on getting by and supporting one another. Despite the financial setback, they counted themselves fortunate to be safe and have their family together under one roof. It was a reminder that the "problems" they faced were, in the grand scheme, manageable.

Alexis took this opportunity to give back to the community she loved. Giving while being in the state of need is the purest form of aloha. She donated a portion of all her headband sales in August to those in need and also raised money from friends and family from afar to help others. This gesture of kindness was a testament to the spirit of Maui's people, who believed in supporting one another during the darkest of times.

For Alexis, the wildfire disaster felt like a cruel reminder of the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, but this time, it was even more severe. It served as a harsh lesson that nothing in life is guaranteed, and being prepared for the unexpected is essential. She vowed to always have a "go bag" ready in case of evacuation, and she would never take anything for granted again.

Reflecting on her experience, Alexis wanted to share a message and advice with others who were going through challenging times: ‚ÄúThis is a marathon, not a sprint. It was okay to lean on each other, to ask for help and support, and to admit that it's okay not to be okay for a little while. The loss and devastation may be unbearable, and it would take time to heal, but together, as a united community, we would pull through, and the love and resilience of Maui would shine brighter than ever before.‚ÄĚ

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