As a proud Tongan, the impact of the volcanic eruption and resulting tsunami that devastated the small island nation hit very close to home. With many of my own family members still living on the island, it was a very scary time for all of us. In an effort to help, I decided to enlist two of my teammates for a back-to-back volleyball pledge-a-thon to raise funds which were donated to buy books, school supplies, and clothes for kids on the island.
As we all know, the pandemic had a huge impact on the lives of many people. None more so than the communities and neighborhoods of the inner city, where my family was raised. In an effort to help make sure families could eat during the pandemic, my family and I organized a weekly food distribution event where anyone could come by my grandma's house and pick up a free box of vegetables, eggs, meats, milk and other staple food items. We partnered with local churches and the Tongan Community of Southern California to get logistical support. My family and I did this every week for 2 years.