In February of 2012, a portable at the University of Hawaii at Manoa caught on fire, choking much of the university area and Moiliili with thick smoke. Conditions were so bad that authorities evacuated the residential areas downwind of the blaze. The Hawaii Red Cross opened a shelter at Manoa District Park for the evacuees. One of these evacuees was Vikter Torres, who at the time was only 5 years old. “I remember the Red Cross gave us a shelter and pizza and water,” said Vikter, now a 5th grade student at Pauoa Elementary School.
This summer, Vikter participated in Queen Liliuokalani Children's Center Summer Makery Program for kids 9-14 years old. In this program, students were taught skills like woodshop, cooking, robotics, gardening, and soap making, which they utilized to create different products. They then sold those products in the community to benefit a non-profit of their choice.
When asked which non-profit Vikter wanted to benefit, he immediately thought of the Red Cross. When his mom asked him why he chose the Red Cross, he said “they helped us that night of the fire, I have to give them money back!” Through his Green Lab, which involved sustainability in the areas of Aquaponics, Hydroponics, Aeroponics and organic gardening, Vikter held open markets sold fresh produce, raising $125 in support of the Hawaii Red Cross mission of helping those in need.