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2020 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Magical Creatures Sanctuary

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Volunteering Oportunities

Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Animal Protection & Welfare, Animals

Mission: Magical Creatures Sanctuary rescues, rehabilitates, and offers life-long sanctuary to animals on the Big Island while serving the Hawaiian community with programs that promote kindness, compassion, and stewardship.

Target demographics: Rescued farmed animals (domestic and feral)

Geographic areas served: Laupahoehoe, Big Island, Hawaii

Programs: Special needs animal care and resources, community outreach programs, public tours, school presentations and class tours, Read to Rescues literacy program, internships, local volunteer opportunities

Community Stories

13 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters


Rating: 5

I was lucky enough to have been able to intern at Magical Creatures the past few months!! It is truly the most magical place I’ve ever been! The location and experience were incredible but even more incredible were these animals! It’s so incredible what they have done there. We have 90+ rescues from all different walks of lives! Each one is living out their beautiful lives! There are animals with special needs, medical conditions, and so much more! We make sure they are all living happy and healthy lives! I learned sooo much in the past few months and am so grateful for the experience and knowledge I’ve left with! My heart will always remain at the sanctuary!!

2 Kayla Rae W.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The awesome folks at Magical Creatures are dedicated to helping animals in need and this all-volunteer organization is second to none. There is no shortage of love and compassion here and the blessed animals fortunate enough to make their way here are surrounded by loving, tender care and peace. Helena, the founder and director of this beautiful slice of heaven, sees to it that everyone is well taken care of and every individual here, including several special needs animals, thrive due to her commitment to their well-being. I cannot praise the work of this place enough. Being the founder of a farmed animal sanctuary myself, I can speak from experience that this incredible safe haven is worthy of the highest praise and our ongoing support. Thank you, Magical Creatures, for all that you are doing for the animals!



Rating: 5

My experience with Magical Creatures of Hamakua began in the beginning of 2018 when I decided to be a weekly volunteer. At that time the sanctuary was just starting out and there were not but 10-15 residents on the property. It was my first real experience spending quality time with, getting to know and helping care for farm animals. This amazing opportunity changed me. I was always an animal lover, I had been vegan for close to a decade at that time and I considered myself a compassionate and highly attuned person towards animals. I quickly learned that I was NOT!

Having a connection with your dog or cat is not the same for a pig or a horse or cow. You see, each animal is unique with its own set of likes/dislikes, quirks etc. Learning these for each individual animal is amazing, you start to see them as the magical sentient beings that they are, not as just another “animal.”

With the guidance of Helena the founder of the sanctuary, through seeing her interactions with each animal, her deep connection to each of them, I was honored week by week to get to know these amazing beings. I love them all dearly and will forever be grateful for the experience to interact with these creatures.

I interact with animals now with a completely different level of awareness. I would have never had this incredible experience if it wasn't for Helena and her boundless love for animals and her tireless work! Magical Creatures of Hamakua is truly a magical place!

3 AmyKBrown


Rating: 5

While on vacation we visited MCOH sanctuary. My 6 year old daughter loves animals and I wanted her to have an up close experience and learn about animal sanctuaries. We were greeted with lots of aloha. The owner is clearly passionate about her work and shared detailed stories about each animal with my daughter. She had incredible patience with my young daughter and spent time answering all her questions. We loved our experience so much that we became sponsors of Bruce and now my daughter is constantly planning ways to help animals or start her own sanctuary some day or becoming a veterinarian.



Rating: 5

Helena has done an amazing job in creating this wonderful, safe sanctuary. She is dedicated and hard working and her endless love for every single resident truly shows. The magical creatures of this sanctuary are happy and extremely well cared for by the knowledgeable and loving live-in volunteers. The animals are treated as individuals with the love and respect that they deserve, and that is also extended to the volunteers who come for daily shifts. I am so thankful to be a part of such an incredible organization!

4 Madi S.1


Rating: 5

Such an amazing and magical place. Helenas compassion and love for the animals she takes in is beyond anything I’ve ever seen. Magical Creatures of Hamakua is founded on pure selflessness, love and dedication. They take the most battered and broken animals and give them a place to heal and be truly safe and happy. Literally could not say enough good things about this place.

4 Jamie H.4

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have had the pleasure of visiting this wonderful sanctuary more than once. The staff are kind, devoted, and sacrifice very much to give the animals and grounds the care it deserves. I highly recommend visiting and supporting this place. They are currently raising funds to build a barn, as well as strengthen their outreach in the community. They have helped many local residents with rehoming their animals during the recent eruptions and seek to educate the community as well! Awesome people. Awesome place.

4 Kara S.1


Rating: 5

I volunteered at the sanctuary for a couple of months while on a nursing assignment. I was amazed to meet all of the wonderful animals and staff. The staff, especially Helena give the animals and the sanctuary her heart, time and energy everyday. The animals receive the best treatment possible and it shows they are very happy and healthy. Working with the animals and staff changed me forever, I was so captured by the animals that I started removing meat and animal products from my diet. I will always fondly remember the animals and sanctuary and they deserve all the support they can get to keep it flourishing.



Rating: 5

I go here as often as I can to help out and it’s not only a meaningful experience, but a fun one! The animals are of course adorable and the volunteers and owners are amazing. Well worth the visit and time to learn more about the amazing animals there and what it takes to run the place!

4 Kyra P.


Rating: 5

Only the purest of heart carry out what Helena (and her on-site volunteers) does 24/7 at Magical Creatures of Hamakua Sanctuary for rescue animals.

Every animal has a name, enough space to roam, gets medical care when needed, is fed daily and, most of all, receives love and attention.

During Sunday morning feedings (our weekly volunteer shift), Helena and on-site staff are often up & out before we arrive between 6:50-7am. Aside from healthy and at-risk animals, the Sanctuary cares for “Special Needs” animals; some can’t walk unaided due to injury, others require bandaging or special accommodations, and one requires night-time as well as round-the-clock attention and/or awareness.

Normally, our feeding shift is uneventful. Maybe we’ll encounter a leaking water hose or an overturned water container (courtesy of the pigs) needing attention.

Well, one day, as a feeding volunteer opened the goat pasture gate, a few goats escaped with more eyeing the “possibility.” Lan, an on-site volunteer, called out and Helena, Alyssa and Scott quickly appeared out of nowhere and lovingly guided them back in, operating in synch like a well-oiled machine!

Another time, Vincent, whose hind legs are paralyzed, got stuck backing out of a tight, tall grassy area, ending up on his back. He screamed out. In literally seconds, in response to his call out, Helena runs out of the house, a good hundred-plus yards away, along with Lan. In short order Vincent is back to grazing as if nothing happened.

It’s the on-site staff’s calmness, awareness, their positive energy, the camaraderie, the confidence, the appreciation of all life, and the “ahhhh” one feels walking on the property that make this animal sanctuary stand out.

All animal areas are clean, the property is amazingly well-maintained, pastures are suited for the animals housed, and Helena has skillfully set-out/organized everything volunteers need to know for their shifts.

A bonus is how the on-site, young volunteers have all been so refreshing to interact with and watch in action.

I have land and animals and have no idea how Helena makes it all work. A few small local businesses with excess (animal edible) vegetable scraps, make scraps available at times, yet those are gone in one feeding. It’s the generous donations that make all the rest possible.

Magical Creatures of Hamakua Sanctuary’s magic is not just for the animals in need. It’s also for those fortunate to visit or cross its path, for our hearts need extra grounding sometimes, and who better to offer us that opportunity than animals living in harmony, in a safe environment. Thank you, Helena.


4 Teva A.


Rating: 5

Magical Creatures is such a wonderful sanctuary. The owners and volunteers do such fantastic work, giving each animal the individual attention they need. From rescues, to injured, and even special needs animals, Magical Creatures has saved so many lives and inspired so many people along the way. Definitely a sanctuary worth recognition!

4 Melissa P.9


Rating: 5

Magical Creatures of Hamakua is an amazing organization! When I started volunteering there, it was during the eruption of Kilauea, and there were so many abandoned animals by the volcano. The director, Helena, immediately went to rescue a whole herd of goats and sheep, cows, and pigs.
Everything is for the animals, many of whom have special needs - to say that they are some of the most beloved residents at the sanctuary would be an understatement.
So many lives have been saved by Helena and her organization, and human lives have been changed for the better through volunteering or outreach efforts. It is truly a magical place with magical creatures!

5 Sally Jane A.


Rating: 5

The most amazing animal sanctuary I’ve ever been to. Wonderful people, a beautiful place, and such a shining light for animals on Hawai’i Island.