Creating Hope Amid COVID-19

Giving Hope to Our Community

by Joey Toro
Treasured Islands Region Men’s Leader
Maui, Hawaii

About a month ago, we suspended operations at our family reupholstery business in Maui, Hawaii, due to the spread of COVID-19. In light of the situation, my mom, sisters and co-workers decided to use our equipment to make face masks for our family and neighbors.

My cousin is a nurse at Maui Memorial Hospital, where she currently conducts coronavirus testing at a drive-through station. She called us to ask for materials to make masks, because the hospital was running low. Since we were already making them, we donated over 100 masks right away.

We then expanded to making masks for the police department, grocery stores and homeless shelters. To date, we have distributed nearly 400 masks to our community.

My dad and mom are pioneer members in the SGI-USA, and they taught us that, during difficult times, we should step up with the courage to help others and with the spirit “What would Sensei do?” In the end, I feel this effort is a natural extension of our training as leaders in the SGI to care for others and with a deep sense of appreciation for SGI President Ikeda, who has supported us so much.