Unexpected wildfires on Maui this week have devastated the Hawaiian island, but there are ways you can help Maui wildfire victims recover both locally and from afar.
Like so many others who have traveled to Maui, I hold the island close to my heart. It was just two years and a month ago when my husband and I wed on a South Maui beach, honeymooned in West Maui, and fell in love with the local flavors of Upcountry.
Heartbreakingly, the charming West Maui town Lahaina, home to 12,000 residents and a popular travel destination, suffered the greatest destruction with at least 271 structures damaged by the wildfire.
Art galleries, restaurants, shops, small local businesses, and historic landmarks along Front Street have been completely destroyed. Even the 150-year-old Banyan tree, considered the heartbeat of Lahaina, has been severely scorched.
Officials are already estimating it will take years for Lahaina, one of the most historically significant towns in Hawaii, to recover.
Of course, buildings and homes can be rebuilt over time, and I’m sure the “ohana” spirit among Hawaiian islanders will ensure Maui rises from the ashes of these wildfires.
However, sadly, as the death toll continues to rise now into the 50s, some residents have lost what can never be replaced.
If you are wondering how can you help the Maui wildfire victims — even from afar, I’ve compiled a list of organizations accepting online donations for wildfire relief efforts.
Ways to Help Maui Wildfires Victims
Give to the Maui Strong Fund
The Hawaii Community Foundation’s Maui Strong Fund will help provide financial assistance, shelter, food, and other services as needed to communities affected by the Maui wildfires. You can make a donation online for a minimum of $25.
Help the Maui Humane Society
To help animals that have been displaced by the Maui wildfires, you can make monetary donations on the Maui Humane Society website. These funds will be used to provide medical care to injured pets suffering from burns and smoke inhalation.
Also, the Maui Humane Society is seeking donations of dry and wet pet food, litter, and pop-up kennels. These items will be distributed to community members at shelters who can keep their pets with them. You can drop these items off at the Maui Humane Society or send items directly to MHS by ordering from its Amazon Wishlist.
If you are a local and with the living space to help, the Maui Humane Society is asking for locals to foster a dog at their home. By placing dogs with SOS Fosters, kennel space will become available for incoming animals who have been displaced and/or need critical medical care.
Have Your Donation Matched by the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement
The Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement has partnered with Kamehameha Schools, Alaska Airlines, King Lunalilo Trust, Alakaʻina Foundation Family of Companies, Kākoʻo Haleakalā, and other organizations to match up to $1.5 million in donations.
You can donate here to help Hawaiians devastated by the Maui wildfires, and all proceeds will go to Maui organizations to support the wildfire relief efforts.
Donate to the Maui United Way
The Maui United Way has set up a Maui Fire and Disaster Relief Donation page. Funds raised will help families and non-profit organizations affected by the wildfires.
Support the Maui Food Bank
The Maui Food Bank is supplying food and personal care items to those in need, and you can make a monetary donation online.
Also, if you are local, you can sign up to be a disaster response volunteer or drop off requested items.
Requested donations include:
- Canned protein and meals with pop tops
- Protein and breakfast bars
- Peanut butter
- Baby food
- Feminine hygiene products
- Tooth paste
- Tooth brushes
- Toilet paper
- Paper towels
- Other toiletries
These items can be dropped off at one of the emergency collection and donation sites around Maui.
Also, please do not make unnecessary calls or emails to the Maui Food Bank at this time. Please refer to the Maui Food Bank website for more information.
Pause on Maui Travel
At this time, non-essential travel to Maui is strongly discouraged, and current visitors have been asked to leave Maui. Southwest Airlines, American Airlines, Alaska Airlines, and Hawaiian Airlines have increased flight service from Maui.
If you have a trip to Maui or the Mauna Kea Resort area of the Big Island, which is also affected by wildfires, in the coming weeks, you should contact your hotel and airline to postpone your vacation.
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