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How To Help Maui in the Wake of Lahaina Wildfires

Illustration of Maui, viewed from above — on a fire orange background

A ferocious wildfire hit Maui, Hawaii on Wednesday and has killed at least 36 people. At least two dozen have been injured or severely burned, Maui Mayor Richard Bissen confirmed in a press briefing. The country announced that, as of Wednesday night, search and rescue operations are underway.

The U.S. Coast Guard also reported panicked residents jumping into the ocean as a way to escape the flames, according to CBS News.

The fire hit the town of Lahaina, destroying more than 270 homes and businesses, including Front Street, a major shopping and dining area — as well as many historic buildings.

Disrupting — and destroying — lives and livelihoods, the fire has also left thousands without power and the area covered in smoke and haze, as strong winds have continued to rush through the area. Thousands more have been evacuated.

The fires are reportedly fueled by a mix of land and atmospheric conditions, as well as powerful winds from Hurricane Dora, which moved through the Pacific Ocean on Tuesday, hundreds of miles south of the Hawaiian islands, according to the National Weather Service

While this event is truly devastating, as always, we know that there is hope in the heartbreak. Whether you’re local to Hawaii or want to extend your support from afar, your support makes a difference. 

We’ve broken this article down into how those in the area can help — and how everyone else can help from where they live.

We are continually updating this article. Please come back soon for more information and ways to make a difference. 

How To Help Maui — For Locals 

Donate food, clothing, and essentials to displaced families.

According to an Instagram post titled “Aloha is the Cure” — from a local business — Cream B Maui and Ho’omana Barbell are accepting donations to assist the community.

You can drop off food, drinks, snacks, baby formula, diapers, clothing (for adults, kids, and babies), plus bedding, pillows, towels, and personal hygiene products — at Ho’omana Barbell at 1826 Kaohu St., Wailuku, HI 96793

As of August 9, you can also donate community goods to:

  • Sparky’s Restaurant — 385 Hoohana Street, Suite 5C, Kahului, Hawaii 96732
  • Paia Bay Coffee Bar — 120 Hana Hwy, Paia, Hawaii 96779
  • War Memorial Complex — 700 Halia Nakoa St, Wailuku, Hawaii 96793 (enter via Kanaloa Avenue)

Donations will be distributed directly to families that have been displaced — as well as through Maui’s Rapid Response teams and local shelters. 

Donate food and water to first responders. 

Many local businesses are accepting donations and managing distribution to support firefighters and first responders via designated Maui Fire Department support sites.

You can drop off pre-made food, water, and snacks at The Boba Bar Paia + Anthony’s Coffee at 2 Baldwin Ave, Paia, HI 96779. The Maui Fire Department specifically recommends donating protein bars, nuts, sandwiches, wraps, burritos, musubis, cut fruit, water, juice, and hydration drinks.

You can also bring donations to other drop-off sites:

  • Espresso Mafia Maui — 3617 Baldwin Ave, Makawao, Hawaii 96768
  • Anytime Fitness Pukalani — 24 Kiopaa St, Makawao, Hawaii 96768
  • Lumeria Maui Retreat Center — 1813 Baldwin Ave, Makawao, Hawaii 96768
  • Maluhia Collective — 1960 Main St, Wailuku, Hawaii 96793
  • Hi-Tech Store — 425 Koloa St, Kahului, Hawaii 96732

Local officials are asking people to not drop off donations directly at fire stations. 

Share about shelters.

According to the Hawaii Red Cross, shelters are open across the island for those impacted by the fire. They can be found at the following locations:

Maui:

  • Hannibal Tavares Community Center — 91 Pukalani St, Makawao, Hawaii 96768
  • Lahaina Civic Center — 1840 HI-30, Lahaina, Hawaii 96761
  • Kihei Community Center — 303 E Lipoa St, Kihei, Hawaii 96753

Hawaii:

  • Waimea Community Center — 65-1260 Kawaihae Rd, Waimea, Hawaii 96743
  • Hisaoka Gym — Kamehameha Park, 54-382 Kamehameha Park Rd, Kapaau, Hawaii 96755

The Hawaii Red Cross recommends that those heading to an evacuation center remember to bring prescription medications, extra clothes, pillows and blankets, hygiene supplies, any important documents, and diapers, formula, and kids toys (if relevant). Do not be afraid to ask for help if you need it. If you are in need, please visit a shelter.

Instagram: SHELTERS ARE OPEN Maui - Hannibal Tavares Community Center - Lahaina Civic Center - Kihei Community Center Hawaii - Waimea Community Center - Hisaoka Gym Follow us for more updates: @HawaiiRedCross American Red Cross - Shelters are now open on Maui and Hawaii Island to help those impacted by the high winds and wildfires.

Share the Hawaii Red Cross’s Instagram post to help spread awareness, or send this information to anyone who could use it.

More shelters continue to be announced. Keep an eye on the County of Maui’s Facebook page.

Foster a pet.

During disasters, pets often get lost or displaced. Fortunately, local animal shelters are prepared to respond to help protect and care for animals. 

The Maui Humane Society says that their building and animals are currently safe — but that they need to quickly make room to accept more animals.

You can make a difference by fostering a pet (they describe it as an “SOS Foster”). You can reach out about fostering by calling them at 808-877-3680 — or by visiting their website.

SOS Foster does not require any previous training or experience fostering animals. The Maui Humane Society says that taking care of a pet for as little as a week can make a huge difference for them at this time.

The organization is also asking for people to drop off dry and wet pet food — as well as litter and pop-up kennels. Monetary donations are also helpful.

Volunteer to kōkua.

Volunteers are needed for a variety of tasks. If you are able and willing to support people who have been affected by the fires, visit a check-in station at the War Memorial Complex (at 700 Halia Nakoa St, Wailuku, Hawaii 96793).

We will continue to update as we find more volunteer opportunities.

How To Help Maui — From Afar

Donate to local aid organizations. 

A number of reputable nonprofits have immediately jumped into action to support victims of the fires and those who are displaced or in need. Consider donating to:

Several local businesses are also accepting local donations and managing distribution to support firefighters and first responders. For those who cannot physically drop off donations, there are still opportunities to help. 

The Boba Bar Paia + Anthony’s Coffee shared their Venmo (@Thebobabarpaia) and said that donations will go to support providing coffee, breakfast, snacks, lunch, and hydration to the first responders they are serving. 

Donate to GoFundMe’s Maui Wildfires Relief Fundraisers.

GoFundMe has put together a landing page of Maui fundraisers — with funds going directly to people in need during times of crisis. The great thing about donating via this page is that GoFundMe verifies all fundraising campaigns and ensure grants get to people most in need — even guaranteeing your money back.

Helping others is just a few clicks away. 

Donate to GoFundMe’s Maui Wildfires Relief Fundraisers.

Donate to the Maui Mutual Aid Fund.

Maui Mutual Aid Fund is collecting physical and monetary mutual aid donations on the front lines of the wildfire crisis. The organization says: “All funds will be distributed to vulnerable ‘Ohana in need,’” including disabled community members, those without insurance, and renters. 

Donate via PayPal to support the fund.

Donate to the Maui Food Bank.

Right now, many local community members have been displaced from their homes without access to food and groceries. Others have lost work due to the fires — or have increased expenses as a result of responding to the crisis. Additionally, many local grocery stores, restaurants, and even supply chains may be affected by the fires.

Fortunately, local food banks are prepared to respond and ensure nobody goes hungry.

Maui Food Bank is asking for people to make online donations to help them provide immediate assistance to those in need. Their staff is already working to supply relief — and they’ll need more support in the coming days and months.

Donate to Maui Food Bank to provide meals.

Talk about climate change.

Climate change is consistently being left out of relevant reporting about climate change-caused disasters like hurricanes, wildfires, and flooding. For tragic weather events like the Lahaina fires — which were caused by drought conditions exacerbated by hurricane winds — it’s important that media coverage accurately describes the impact of human-caused climate change.

Only by clearly talking about the harmful impacts of climate change can we help instigate a faster climate response and save countless lives from future climate disasters.

Learn more about how to hold media outlets accountable for talking about climate change.

Share these resources with others.

Lastly, help others get involved by sharing this article via social media, email, or messaging. If you make a donation, share that with others too; it might inspire more people to join in. Every donation has the potential to make a difference for those affected in western Maui.

We are continually updating this article. Please come back soon for more information and ways to make a difference.

Article Details

August 10, 2023 6:32 AM
August 10, 2023
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