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Community unites to bring reprieve to families in crisis


On Saturday, March 10, Sunday’s Child Foundation sponsored a community effort to collaborate effectively to help children suffering from affliction in and around the Waimea area.

This urgent response was ignited in response to the death of three-year-old, Marley Makanani, and the alleged abuse of her two siblings in Waimea.

“I was so stirred up by these events that took place here with these three young girls,” said Lauren Rainier, executive director of Sunday’s Child Foundation. “I felt so upset that I was so close to what was going on, yet I knew nothing about what was going on. Certainly, someone knew what was happening to these kids.”

Rainier adds, “Each of us needs to reach deep within our naau and do what is right to protect the little ones who cannot protect themselves. Surely, no one wants to see this happen again.”

It is for this reason that so many people, including community leaders from as far as Hilo and Kona, came out to support this effort. Among the people that came Saturday were: Honorable Judge Melvin Fujino; Deputy Prosecutor, Mitch Roth; State Rep. Cindy Evans; and Police Officer Brent Foster.

The focus of the meeting was to find pro-active solutions to the chain of abuse in the family, and in particular, to abuses of children.

“Is the life of a child worth the shame to a family or family member? We think it is,” Rainier said. “Actions of neglect and abuse on a child should never be swept under the table. We have so many good resources for families and children here in Hawaii, but until a peer or family member takes a pro-active stance to protect a child, the help they need, like intervention and support groups, faith-based organizations, Child Welfare Services, and the police, are unaware of the situation and cannot intercede.”

This group hopes to raise awareness and educate the community to protect its children and also strengthen the collaborative flow between organizations that support keiki and families locally.

For further information or to be a part of the “Strengthening Our ‘Ohana” team, email

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