It’s easy to call a place like Maui paradise. It’s a warm, sunny climate with stunning scenery everywhere, and blue waters teeming with sea life. Even so, Maui is home to populations of people, animals, plants and places that need help. If you’ve ever wanted to make your vacation about something more than recreation and relaxation, there are lots of activities that are interesting, stimulating, rewarding, fun AND give back to the communities that are often underserved or land in the shadows of big tourism. Because #themoreyouknow…
IF YOU’RE AN ANIMAL LOVER
You can take a shelter dog to the beach for a day of out-of-the-kennel-and-into-the-sunshine fun by way of the Beach Buddies program at Maui Humane Society. Because Maui has a limited adoption pool and pet overpopulation problem in an isolated and remote place on the globe, animals can wait a long time to find their forever homes. Not only can you have a Maui dog for a day, you can also visit Maui’s cutest critters at the shelter, volunteer your time at one of MHS’s free spay/neuter clinics or stop by to take a tour and make a donation. Everything helps. Learn more.
IF YOU WANT TO END HUNGER
Maui’s COSTCO is one of the busiest locations in the United States. When doors open at 10 AM, there’s often a line of people waiting that stretches out into the parking lot. Because many COSTCO purchases are big purchases at a great value, many visitors end up with more food than they can consume during their time on Maui. There are multiple food drop off locations for you to donate unopened, non-perishable foods to Maui Food Bank. Learn more.
IF YOU WANT TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE THROUGHOUT THE ISLANDS
Charity Walk happens every May, and raises millions of dollars for charitable organizations all around Hawaii.
IF YOU LOVE READING OR MOVIES
Did you know that Maui has only one major book retailer on the island? You can make media and materials more accessible for all by donating any books, magazines, DVDs and other media that you’re not taking home with you to one of the three used bookstores operated by Maui Friends of the Library. There’s even a super convenient location where you can donate and shop at the Queen Kaahumanu Center in Kahului. Learn more.
IF YOU LOVE THE OCEAN
Visit the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary in Kihei on your way to South Maui’s beautiful beaches. Not only will you learn more about the weather, the ocean and undersea life, you’ll have a beautiful view of the water and Haleakala. Learn more.
On the third Saturday of each month, you can join the Surfrider Foundation and a collection of Maui’s community groups to conduct Beach Cleanups. Learn more.
IF YOU WERE ON VACATION WITH CHILDREN
Did you buy toys, beach toys and larger or bulky baby/child supplies that you know you’re not able to pack? Donate these items to a Goodwill donation drop. There are four donation center collection centers to serve Maui. Learn more.
If you’re not able to give your time, talent or treasure to the places you visit, you can always do your part by limiting your environmental impact on the places you do visit.
- Reduce, reuse, recycle.
- Follow signs and instructions when visiting natural preserves.
- Don’t walk or step on reefs.
- Don’t bother or touch wildlife/sea life. Leave turtles and seals on the beaches alone. (There is a fine waiting for you if you don’t.)
- Dispose of your garbage responsibly.
- Respect the culture.
- Bring or buy reusable shopping bags.
- Respect park and private property boundaries.
- Instead of using chemical blocks like sunscreen that bleaches and kills the coral reefs, use clothing and swimwear to protect your skin from the sun.
- And, best of all, educate yourself on the challenges that face the places you love, even if you don’t live there. The problems that Hawaii faces are just like the ones you might know from your mainland hometown, but are often exacerbated by occurring in one of the most remote places in the world.
The Hawaiian Island chain contains some of the most extensive coral reefs found in the world. They are home to over 7,000 marine species, one quarter of which are found only in the Hawaiian Archipelago. Let’s keep Hawaii beautiful so that you and many future generations will be able to appreciate it again and again.