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Lahaina students can use what visitors leave behind

By Staff | Sep 8, 2011

Brielle (left) and Jasmine McKinney show some of the items donated by The Whaler on Kaanapali Beach.

LAHAINA — Every day, departing visitors leave behind practically new toys, boogie boards, slippers, school supplies and other items.

Two Lahaina Intermediate School students want to collect these items and give them to West Maui schools and students.

Sisters Jasmine and Brielle McKinney came up with the idea while attending Princess Nahienaena Elementary School, where the equipment for basketball, kickball and dodge ball was old and “scrubby,” and toys in the sand pit were missing or broken.

They also feel the school’s reward programs — including the “Gotcha Store,” where children can spend “Gotcha Dollars” they earn for achievement — need better prizes.

Brielle said she was trying to think of ways to add prizes to the “Gotcha Store”“good prizes. Prizes that kids love, like boogie boards, surfboards and snorkel equipment.

“While walking home, a tourist asked me if I wanted his sand toys and boogie board, and of course I said yes. But I asked why, and he said he couldn’t take them home on the plane,” she continued.

“That is when the idea hit me. I should go around and ask the resorts if they could start collecting donations from the tourists, and then my sister and I could swing by and collect them monthly.

Jasmine and Brielle sent letters to West Maui resorts, noting, “Some of the tourists that visit your hotel purchase all kinds of beach stuff. The items that they do not want, need or can’t take on the plane, like slippers, sand toys, boogie boards, surfboards, beach balls, footballs, volleyballs, goggles, snorkel equipment, noodles and floats, we would like you to consider donating to Princess Nahienaena!

“Please look into this, and we hope that you may consider this wonderful opportunity to support your local school community.”

They found their first monthly contributor in The Whaler on Kaanapali Beach, returning with a mini-van packed with items visitors left behind.

The bounty included four body boards, a Nerf basketball, five boxes of file folders, two boxes of red binders, three snorkel sets and four fins, staples, note pads and much more.

Jasmine said Princess Nahienaena School students were happy to see new “Gotcha Store” prizes.

“The principal was thrilled with the donations, and the students were jumping up and down they were so excited,” Jasmine said.

With better prizes, students will focus on good behavior to earn “Gotcha Dollars,” she added.

According to the girls, students at Princess Nahienaena Elementary and Lahaina Intermediate can use beach supplies, slippers, towels — “anything that can be recycled rather than trashed.”

Jasmine and Brielle see their idea growing in West Maui and other resort communities around the state.

Brielle said, “I wanted to set the example for other students around Hawaii, so that they might also ask resorts/hotels to start programs similar to The Whaler, where rather than trashing perfectly good items… they donate them to local schools to help motivate students.”

To reach Jasmine and Brielle, e-mail jasonandlorie@yahoo.com.