Support Local

Mauka and Makai

The Surfrider Foundation is a non-profit grassroots organization dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of our world’s oceans, waves and beaches. Founded in 1984 by a handful of visionary surfers in Malibu, California, the Surfrider Foundation now maintains over 50,000 members and 90 chapters worldwide.

The Kauai Chapter of The Surfrider Foundation has several on-going programs to help the environment. These are in line with the mission of the Surfrider organization as a whole. Many visitors enjoy giving back to the “aina” and taking time on their vacation to volunteer in beach clean-ups to help preserve the pristine shoreline of Kauai.

Blue Water Task Force. Is your surf spot clean?

Beach Clean-up volunteer program. Get Involved.

Net Patrol. If you see nets and ropes that need to be removed from the shoreline or want to help Net Patrol remove them, contact Surfrider at or call Barbara at (808) 635-2593.

Hawaii Wildlife Fund

HAWAI’I WILDLIFE FUND (HWF) is a non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation of Hawaii’s native wildlife through research, education and advocacy. HWF Team is made up of educators, conservationists, researchers, naturalists, communities, volunteers and donors devoted to the protection of Hawaii’s fragile marine ecosystem and inhabitants.

HWF is actively engaged in community research, education and conservation projects.

Learn about the marine environment while snorkeling or whale watching with HWF naturalists,volunteer your time with one of their projects, or donate to their cause.

Want to make a Donation? Your funds will be put to good use on one of HWF’s Projects.

Our favorite program is their ADOPT AN ENDANGERED ANIMAL

By adopting Hawaii’s sea turtles, monk seals, dolphins, whales, or coral reefs you will:
Receive an adoption certificate with a picture of your adopted animal.
Support Hawai’i Wildlife Fund, a non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation of Hawaii’s native wildlife.
Contribute to the survival and protection of these species through research, education and conservation programs.

ADOPTION: I would like to adopt the following animal(s):
O KE KAI (endangered): Humpback, Hawksbill & Monk Seal – $100
KO’A: Hawaiian Coral Reef – $50
HONU’EA (endangered): Hawksbill Sea Turtle mother – $50
HONU’EA (endangered): Hawksbill Sea Turtle hatchling – $20
ILIO HOLO KAI (endangered): Hawaiian Monk Seal – $40
HONU (threatened): Green Sea Turtle Adult – $35
HONU (threatened): Green Sea Turtle Hatchling – $25
KOHOLA (endangered): Humpback Whale – $30
NAI’A (protected): Bottlenose Dolphin – $25
NAI’A (protected): Spinner Dolphin – $25
NAI’A (protected): Spotted Dolphin – $25

Monk Seal Program

Residents and tourists alike volunteer to protect Kauai’s sweet monk seal population. Hawaiian Monk Seals (Monachus schauinslandi) are among the most endangered creatures on earth. Approximately 85-90% of them live around the tiny, uninhabited Hawaiian Islands and atolls. The ocean and beaches of Kaua`i are home to about 40 to 45 seals.

It should be noted that harassing or disturbing a monk seal is a federal crime. Penalties upon conviction include fines of $25,000 or more and up to 5 years imprisonment. When you visit our beaches, you may be lucky enough to see a Hawaiian Monk Seal.

Your help is vital to ensure their survival. Make sure you stay well behind the roped off area around the seal and at least 150 feet away when they are in unmarked areas. Do not walk between the seal and the ocean. Please do not use flashes when photographing the seals. If you see any seal harassment, please contact the Kauai Marine Conservation Coordinator at 808-651-7668 or Police Dispatch at 808-241-6711.

Most pups are born between February and July, although births can occur at any time of the year. Over half of all adult females pup each year. Preferred birthing sites are gently sloping beaches with adjoining shallow water. The obvious advantages are protection from sharks and ease of movement.

At birth, the Hawaiian Monk Seal pup is approximately 3 feet long and weighs between 25 and 30 pounds. It grows to almost 200 pounds in its first six weeks. A pup usually starts swimming with its mother from its first day of life. After the six-week nursing period, the mother weans the pup abruptly, abandoning it to resume her own feeding. The weanling pup will generally remain at its birth beach for a month or two. It will slowly begin to range farther out to sea and eventually learn to feed on its own.

If you would like to volunteer, please contact the Kauai Hawaiian Monk Seal Conservation Hui. Volunteers are trained to assist with reporting, monitoring and protection of our monk seals.

If you are interested in volunteering with the Hui or would like more information, please contact:

3060 Eiwa St., Room 306
Lihue, HI 96766

Kumu`s Cupboard

Aloha Kauai Visitors,

Great Vacation Retreats is excited to introduce you to Kumu’s Cupboard, a new store where Kauai’s teachers can shop for FREE. Kumu’s Cupboard is filled with school supplies, office supplies, materials for art and science projects, and things that can be used as student incentives. Kauai’s teachers can visit the store once a month and shop at no cost, for supplies to use in their classroom.

Many teachers spend their own money to enhance the education of their students whether to buy basic school supplies or materials for a special project. We can help alleviate some of this burden by redistributing products you no longer need or through supplies bought with your donations.

Kauai educators also face the challenge that many things are not readily available on island. Shipping small quantities of things can be very expensive. Kumu’s Cupboard uses donations to buy these items and ship them in bulk to Kauai.

Would you like to make a positive impact on your visit to Kauai?  Do you or your business have a surplus of supplies? Do you shop the sales at office supply stores and other back to school venues?

Please see the list below of examples of needed supplies. They can generally use any supplies that you would find in a K-12 classroom including those for special projects, art, science, math and student incentives.

Examples for Donations

This is a list to give you examples of what we can use that may be easy to bring from the mainland.

Flash drives
Pens, pencils
Crayons, markers, colored pencils
Staplers, staples
Hole punches, Beads
Paper clips, binder clips, brads, Glitter
Stamp pads
Notebooks, binders
Stamps and Stickers
Computer tablets—new or used
Rulers, measuring tapes, scales
Ear buds, headphones
Party favors
Small toys

Please bring what you can and leave them on the kitchen table or counter and we’ll make sure they are delivered to Kumu’s Cupboard.

Mahalo nui,
Great Vacation Retreats

Kauai Independent Food Bank

Join our food drive by sharing any unopened and non-perishable groceries from your stay! Please use the bag provided in the kitchen of your vacation home or condo and we will forward your donation to the Kauai Independent Food Bank.

Many of our guests shop at Costco and discover that although they are buying in bulk they are paying far less than in the grocery stores, sometimes getting double or triple the produce for the same amount of money! Many “bulk” items are divided into smaller individually wrapped packages or cans which makes your left-over unused items easy to donate to the Food Bank and you won’t have to worry about wasting food!

Give the gift of health by providing nutrient rich food items to people in need on Kauai. Here are some of the most needed items:

A healthy diet is essential to good health. There is a Hawaiian proverb I ola no ke kino i ka ma’ona o ka ‘opu which means “the body enjoys health when the stomach is well filled.”

The Kauai Independent Food Bank relies on monetary donations, grants and other gifts, as well as food donations to support their operations and program initiatives such as Keiki Cafe, Backpack, the Kapuna Program and more….

Mahalo nui loa for your support!

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Travel authentically.

Discover more.

Give Back: Volunteer with local non-profit organizations & experience the true meaning of aloha

Get Involved: Don’t settle for being another tourist – become part of our visiting family

Travel Sustainably: Tread lightly and visit thoughtfully on the Island of Discovery

Volunteer Kauai is the island of Kauai’s first major voluntourism project, begun by local non-profit Malama Kauai, whose mission is to advocate, educate, and drive action towards a sustainable Kauai. We educate and engage our visitors in sustainable tourism and volunteering.

We’re based on the North Shore of Kaua’i but work with organizations and communities that span the island. We help arrange group service trips, connect visitors with volunteer opportunities, and promote sustainable travel and authentic voluntourism experiences on Kauai. Check us out online at, and browse our island’s volunteer opportunities here.

Contact us to get involved at (808) 828-0685 x 11 or email

aloha promise

We are very lucky to call Kauai home, or for many of our owners, a second home, and love to be able to give back so that our community can change the narrative of how vacation rentals can actually provide support for a community. We encourage guests to give back by walking a shelter pup, guarding the monk seals on the beaches, donating to the food bank (we leave bags in the properties for them to leave goods) and by informing our guests about the different ways to give back to the Island of Kauai.

This is our Aloha Promise:

“To dedicate resources towards local non-profit organizations that push to enrich the lives of individuals, keiki’s, and families.”

“Ohana” is a word that gets thrown around a lot. It means family. We at Great Vacation Retreats often refer to ourselves, collectively, as the GVR Ohana. Our coworkers, our vendors, our everything in-between, are a part of our ohana. That is also the way we see everyone in our small tight-knit community on Kauai which is why we pledge to allocate our efforts to give back and take care of our family in any way possible. As of today, we have and will continue to work side-by-side with Nana’s House, Women In Need, and Hale Opio.

Through Nana’s House, we have the opportunity to assist families specifically chosen by the organization. We assist in replenishing their food pantry, clothing and toiletries. Our office location is situated near the Kalaheo Dental Group and Turtle Cove Realty, so when it was time to help the amazing team of people at Women In Need, we cooperated with them to put together a sizable package of dental items and women’s-care items. The youth are our future and through Hale Opio we are working to give them the toiletry supplies that will help them get through their day-to-day routines.

In 2017, we started a food donation program with Kauai Food Bank. With currently 80+ properties under our management, for every non-perishable food item guests leave inside the home we take them back to our office to collect and deliver to the Kauai Food Bank.

We are in the business of helping others. This is what hospitality is, after all.

Each month we focus on one of our four main charities. If you are on island and want to help out for that month your contributions would be very welcome! Either bring a few items from home or pick up a little extra when you are shopping. Share Your Aloha and give a little back to this beautiful aina! Mahalo!

January: Hale Opio
February: Nana’s House
March: Food Bank
April: Hale Opio
May: Women in Need
June: Nana’s house
July: Food Bank
August: Hale Opio
September: Nana’s House
October: Women in Need
November: Food Bank-Salvation Army
December: Nana’s house (Toy drive) /Toys for Tots

Learn More About The Programs we have Pledged to Support:

Child & Family Service - Nana's House

Nana’s House is a Family Center located on the west side of Kaua‘i, in the town of Waimea. Nana’s House offers a wide range of family support programs, services, and community activities, such as:
• Parenting classes
• Case Management
• Outreach
• Counseling for individuals, groups, couples, and families
• Food from our Food Pantry
• Clothing Closet
• Immigrant Resource Center (Office of Community Service)
• SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program)(Department of Human Services)
• Voluntary Case Management (DHS) child abuse and neglect referral.

How Can You Help? We assist families chosen by the organisation by replenishing their food pantry, clothing and toiletries. If you would like to donate any of these items please let us know and leave them in your vacation rental and we will forward them along with our donation.

Kauai Independent Food Bank

The Kauai Independent Food Bank (KIFB) depends on the community for quality, non-perishable, healthy food items.
The KIFB distributes about 30,000 lbs. of food each month to non-profit agencies and churches who then take this food out into the community. Your food will be distributed to needy children, frail elderly, the homeless, Kauai’s soup kitchens, and others.

How Can You Help? We ask our vacation rental guests to use the Food Bags we provide at check-in to donate any unopened non-perishable food items so that we can collect it and deliver it to the Food Bank.

Women In Need

Women In Need empowers women who have been through domestic violence, homelessness, substance abuse, and incarceration.
WIN is committed to guiding women and teens towards sobriety, self-esteem and responsibility through a warm, nurturing and holistic approach.
WIN helps teach those in need the positive life skills that are necessary for them to become independent and productive members of our community and to break the generational cycle of hopelessness and abuse.

How Can You Help? We assist WIN with donations of clothing and business attire, make-up and toiletries for women that are re-entering the workplace as well as childrens toys anditems for families that are displaced due to domestic violence. If you would like to donate any of these items please let us know and leave them in your vacation rental and we will forward them along with our donation.

Hale Opio

Hale ‘pio Kaua‘i, Inc. is dedicated to improving young people’s quality of life, enhancing a sense of belonging, increasing self-awareness, and strengthening ‘Ohana by providing residential and community programs for education, prevention, court diversion, and treatment.

How Can You Help?   Shop With A Smile
Did you know you can help Hale ‘pio Kaua‘i just by shopping on Amazon? Set your charity to Hale Opio Kauai Inc and start helping today!