A mother/daughter surfing duo have begun to organize a Bags of Hope humanitarian aid effort to benefit survivors of the Maui wildfires.
“We are partnering with Adaptive Maui and the Kelea Foundation, a grassroots nonprofit community-based organization whose mission is to make Maui’s outdoors more accessible to all visitors including those with physical challenges. Since [my daughter] Meg and I are based in [New Jersey], Adaptive Maui will be our boots on the ground to ensure the funds raised will reach locals who need immediate and long-term assistance,” said Lee Comer, one of the founders of Bags of Hope.
Ms. Comer and her daughter started this organization with some of Ms. Comer’s lifelong friends and fellow surfers, Brent Sheerin, who is the organization’s “boots on the ground” working for the organization out of Maui; and Nanette Leonard, the organization’s public relations specialist, according to Ms. Comer and Ms. Leonard.
Ms. Comer said, “Our love of Hawaii dates back to when I was a teenager and Meg started surfing at the age of eight. We spent many years surfing in Lahaina and there is a special place in our hearts for this beautiful paradise that has been reduced to ashes. Those in Maui who survived may have lost their loved ones, they lost their homes, their cars, their pets, all of their earthly possessions, their livelihood…they need our help.”
Bags of Hope will have a presence at numerous upcoming events held at the Jersey Shore. There will be raffles for gift baskets at the two main events – Manasquan Longboard contest [Saturday, Sept. 9 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Manasquan Inlet Surfing Beach] and the Belmar Pro Surf contest [Sunday, Sept. 10 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 16 to 18th Avenues and Ocean Avenues].
Mr. Sheerin will be in New Jersey at the events this weekend to help promote Bags of Hope and answer any questions from the public wanting a first-hand account of how the wildfires are affecting Maui, according to Ms. Leonard.
Bags of Hope will also staff a table at the Board Swap at the Beach House Classic Boardshop, located at 517 Main Ave., Bay Head, on Sunday, Oct. 15 from 9 a.m. until noon.
In addition, canvas bags with original artwork by ArtfulLee will be available for sale with 100 percent of the proceeds going to Bags of Hope.
Canvas bags designed by ArtfulLee are available at: Bay Head the Beach House Classic Boardshop [517 Main Ave., Bay Head], Coastal Art Coop [617 Arnold Ave., Point Pleasant Beach], Wonderland & Sea [132 Main St., Manasquan], Brave New World Surf [1208 Richmond Ave., Point Pleasant Beach] and Playa Bowls [2107 NJ-35, Holmdel].
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