A huge thank you to all of you who bought plate lunches and/or sent in donations for the Lahaina Plate Lunch Fundraiser held on Sunday, September 3rd! We had originally hoped to sell 200 lunches but ended up having to turn some people away as we had to cap it at 400 lunches. Quite frankly, the response was overwhelming.

This all came about because a Sangha member, Gwen Aso, wanted to do something for the people of Maui after the wildfire disaster. Gwen came to me with the idea to do a plate lunch fundraiser at the Betsuin. After discussing this over several days, we agreed to go for it. Gwen (with the help of her brother Greg and niece Deborah) did all the planning and preparation, including recruiting volunteers to help with various aspects (including purchasing the various food items and supplies, cutting up the vegetables and chicken for the chicken hekka, washing and cooking the rice, assembling the food items, and distributing the lunches). Thank you to all the volunteers who helped on such short notice! And a huge thank you to Gwen for not only coming up with the idea but for taking charge!

This is just one example of the difference one person can make. A similar event happened last year when Mike Mori came up with the idea of having the Sangha pitch in to do some cleanup at the temple and so we held a Betsuin Maintenance Day last year where about 100 Sangha members joined together to help improve our campus.

Another example occurred several years ago when Terry Oshidari observed many positive things that occur at the Betsuin most people didn’t know about, nor do they know who’s responsible. She decided she wanted to shine a light on this so she helped create our Volunteer Recognition Program where all our sponsored organizations can nominate someone to be recognized for their good deeds. Thanks to Terry, each year these individuals are recognized during our annual Dana Day Program which usually occurs on the last Sunday of January.

All of these are examples of Sangha members who identified an issue and decided to take the initiative and do something about it. If any of you have an idea to help the temple, please get in contact with me.

There are many other occurrences of Sangha members contributing in their own way, whether it’s by serving as a Dharma School instructor, Scout leader, Jr. YBA advisor, taking care of the temple grounds, and so much more, so on behalf of the Betsuin, thank you!

We have been fortunate to have so many wonderful volunteers help over the years in so many ways. However, we are in continual need for others to volunteer. Every year we lose some volunteers (health issues, getting on in years, move out of area, etc.) and this year is no different. We are in need for people to step up in a variety of areas, especially in leaderships roles, within the Betsuin, including (but not limited to) Archives Committee chair and Obon chair. We all know that things work better when a lot of people help a little instead of having a few people do a lot, so please consider helping the Betsuin (whether you are asked by an individual or decide to volunteer on your own).

Again, thank you for not just donating to the fundraiser for Lahaina but for all that you do for the Betsuin.