Koral McCarthy: Hawaii MVP from Kauai
Kauai's north shore communities are still recovering from April's record rains and flooding. Members of the affected towns trying to return to normal. Immediately after the deluge started, locals stepped up to help one another. Like Koral McCarthy, the owner of the Ohana Shop in Hanalei. Our Hawaii MVP
Kauai's north shore communities are still recovering from April's record rains and flooding. Members of the affected towns trying to return to normal. Immediately after the deluge started, locals stepped up to help one another. Like Koral McCarthy, the owner of the Ohana Shop in Hanalei.
"It's even tighter knit then ever," she said. "Its already small."
Her store sells everything from jewelry and trinkets, to clothing and beauty supplies. McCarthy co-owns it with her husband, Moku, hence the name "Ohana."
But on Kauai's North Shore, ohana's more about the feel of the place. Now, more than ever.
"I think what was most profound since the flood was the community coming together to survive," she said.
The last time Island News spoke to McCarthy was right after April's devastating floods ripped through Hanalei and nearby communities. She was already looking for solutions, like asking for people with second homes or vacation rentals to open up their spaces to people, to get over the "shock phase."
McCarthy and others helped collect supplies and offered rides to people.
"There was the receivers, the people sending, all the boat volunteers," she listed. "There was people driving, volunteering, to all different non-profits delivering goods... and it really helped people realize how much they can take care of each other."
One way she took care of others, was opening her own home in Hanalei to those who couldn't get to theirs.
"When the flood happened, you couldn't get home. Well, you couldn't go through in general. And then it evolved in you can kind of go through and that evolved into the convoy and so if you didn't get home before 6:30 or 7 you were stuck on this side. And if you worked a night shift, you were stuck and you couldn't get home until the next morning. 6:30 in the morning. So people were sleeping around in their cars," she said.
"I'm like come over, I enjoy it," she said, adding how she always has a dozen kids running around her property most weekends.
She joined forces with others in town creating https://www.gofundme.com/hanaleihaena-flooding-fund to raise money for those with immediate needs.
"There is some families that do need help rebuild still. There's families that need the finances to rebuild," she said. "That's why this group of us that's been going forward is like. We start to see and fell for our friends and family and its like OK 'what can be a solution to it? What can we do to help them right now?'"
By helping others, McCarthy's put personal goals on hold. Her colleagues told Island News there were plans to open a second "Ohana Shop" in Kilauea, but with flood relief efforts taking up most of her time, McCarthy had to press pause on expanding.
She's not pausing on helping people. Resident's of Kauai's North Shore said they're months into recover but far away from where they want to be. McCarthy's offered to be a voice for people, calling state or county officials to seek answers.
When Island News asked her if she made a difference, she shrugged, said "sure," but pointed to many others. But she never allowed her sense of ohana to fade.
"This is my home, oh yeah. This is my home and my people," she said.