Children’s Disaster Services volunteers respond to Hawaii eruption

Church of the Brethren Newsline
May 25, 2018

CDS volunteers care for children affected by Hawaii volcano.

by Kathleen Fry-Miller

Children’s Disaster Services (CDS) volunteers Petie Brown and Randy Kawate have cared for children at the shelter in Pahoa on the “Big Island” of Hawaii. The effort has aided children and families affected by the volcanic eruption that has displaced hundreds of residents.

Brown and Kawate, who live on the “Big Island,” were able to set up a children’s area in the Pahoa shelter with support from Red Cross and local church volunteers. The number of families and children affected by the volcanic eruptions has been in flux, as nearby residents try to figure out where to go in the midst of unpredictable eruptions of lava, gas, ash, and earthquakes.

The CDS volunteers have cared for 49 children over the past 2 1/2 weeks. Red Cross will be re-assessing needs for child care, especially once schools are out for the summer next week. Children have been using the area for play at other times also. Schools have been open, so during the week very few children have been in the shelter. This could change, depending on what happens with the volcano and earthquakes. Brown and Kawate have shared information that another shelter could be opening up, so CDS will be alert to what the needs are at that point.

This is a time of lots of stress and uncertainty for everyone on the island. Our heartfelt thoughts and prayers continue for the people of Hawaii.’

— Kathleen Fry-Miller is associate director of Children’s Disaster Services, a ministry within Brethren Disaster Ministries. For more go to

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