Containers are on the way to Tonga packed with supplies from volunteers and relatives living in other areas. The remote island nation was hit with a volcanic eruption and tsunami in mid-January. The food, clothing, shoes and other items were donated and gathered in coordinated service projects involving The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and other faiths.
The effort was especially meaningful for the volunteers who are of Tongan heritage and now live in New Zealand, as well as Tongan missionaries, reported Pacific Newsroom.
One woman in Hamilton, New Zealand, slipped a message in the container for her husband who is managing the construction of the Neiafu Tonga Temple. They have been apart since last June.
Several businesses around Hamilton donated goods and provided transportation. Students raised money to purchase a generator. Others wrote messages of love and support on the boxes. The Pacific Newsroom reported the container was shipped Tuesday, Feb. 22.
The Polynesian Association of Alaska collected supplies over a period of several weeks to send in a container, reported Alaska Public Radio.
Anchorage resident Latu Tuuholoaki told the news organization that she has only been able to speak with her mother in Tonga twice since the volcano, and the calls didn’t last long. But she was able to learn more about the needs in Tonga — especially food and drinking water, but also seeds to plant in the future.
The report said the volunteers and missionaries met at a Church meetinghouse in Anchorage earlier this month to load everything.
Many other faiths, community groups and disaster relief organizations around the United States and Pacific area are also fundraising or collecting supplies for Tonga. The Deseret News reported the undersea communications cable was repaired this week, meaning the main island of Tongatapu is now connected again to the rest of the world. Work to restore connection to Tonga’s other islands is continuing. The cable is Tonga’s only source of reliable internet connection and communication.
Members of the Church have expressed a great desire to support the people of Tonga. Three ways to help were outlined In a post on the Pacific Area’s Facebook page.
- Fast and pray with friends and families.
- Donate to the Church’s Humanitarian Aid Fund.
- Share a written message and/or draw a picture for the children — and post it to the Pacific Area’s Inspiration Facebook group.
Those notes and images will be printed and delivered with upcoming relief shipments.