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Restaurant group Na Hoaloha ‘Ekolu recognized by Adopt-A-Highway program

By Staff | Feb 19, 2021

Kawika Freitas of Na Hoaloha ‘Ekolu receives the award in recognition of the restaurant group’s longtime dedication to the Adopt-A-Highway program.

KAHULUI — The owners of Old Lahaina Luau, Star Noodle, Leoda’s Kitchen and Pie Shop, and Aloha Mixed Plate were commended by the Department of Transportation’s Highways Division for their employees’ impressive and sustained volunteerism for Maui’s environment — a commitment to the community that “demonstrates our Hawaiian values,” according to a company representative.

Maui restaurant group Na Hoaloha ‘Ekolu received the No Ka Oi Highway Hui Award from the State of Hawaii, Department of Transportation, Highways Division – Maui District (HWY-M), in recognition of their long-time participation in HWY-M’s Adopt-A-Highway program and the consistently large number of volunteers who helped pick up trash along a two-mile stretch of Honoapiilani Highway in Olowalu, near Leoda’s Kitchen and Pie Shop.

“Na Hoaloha ‘Ekolu has been a great partner in Adopt-A-Highway since they first signed up for the program around 1993, typically organizing 30 to 50 volunteers to help at each of their cleanup events,” said Ty Fukuroku, program manager, Environmental Management, HWY-M.

“By removing litter and other pollutants from our environment, Adopt-A-Highway partners do a tremendous amount of good for Maui and its ecosystems. We’re very pleased to honor them for their ongoing contributions.”

Kawika Freitas, director of public and cultural relations for Na Hoaloha ‘Ekolu, said their participation in community programs like Adopt-A-Highway is an expression of their Hawaiian values, including po’okela (excellence), aloha and malama ‘aina (love and love for the land), and ho’okipa, (hospitality).

“We do this regularly to get involved with the community, and the employees really look forward to these events,” he said.

In November and December, Na Hoaloha ‘Ekolu reopened three of its popular local outlets — Star Noodle, now located on Front Street near Lahaina Cannery Mall; Leoda’s Kitchen and Pie Shop in Olowalu; and Old Lahaina Luau — with COVID-19 safety protocols in place.

Due to the pandemic, Adopt-A-Highway cleanup events have been temporarily suspended. They will resume after the public health situation has improved.

Normally, participants in the public service program commit to adopting a two-mile portion of a state highway for a minimum of two years, pick up litter on their section of the highway at least four times per year, and undergo safety training before each cleanup event.

The quarterly award recognizes and celebrates groups that have continually met and/or exceeded the requirements of the Adopt-A-Highway program. For more information on the program, visit www.stormwatermaui.com.