Lahaina is gone. Thousands of buildings…gone. Hundreds of families left with nothing and no place to go, and many still searching for loved ones. My heart is broken.
@dailytelegraph Hawaii residents have told how they were forced to flee into the ocean as flames “began to burn their skin” with the death toll from wildfires set to rise. Read the full story and see more photos by clicking the link in our bio. #Maui #Hawaii #fire #devestation #global #worldnews #news #emergency #evacuation #wildfire ♬ Beethoven Moonlight Sonata-High Sound Quality – Amemiya
Sam and I have been to Maui a few times, with the most recent being December 2022. We’ve been to the very places that no longer exist, and have likely met some of the people who lost everything. The people of Lahaina are so proud of their town – you could literally SEE the generations of love and hard work that went into the restaurants, shops, and other businesses.
Thinking about those people, and what they’re facing…ugh I just cannot imagine.
How can we help Maui?
So, how can we help?! I gathered some info in case you’re wondering the same thing!
First, I asked for links and recommendations for where to donate because I keep seeing disturbing videos about how locals are not able to get access to food, supplies, or even to one another due to governmental red tape.
I came across this spreadsheet with names and info for over 500 families in Lahaina who were displaced by the fire. There is a link to GoFundMe, cash app, or Venmo for each family to help them directly.
**Disclaimer: Donating to GoFundMe may not be “legitimate” but it’s an option if you’re looking for a way to donate directly to those affected. It’s not like we know who exactly our money goes to when we donate to bigger organizations.
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Local businesses in Lahaina
Here are donation links for a few families on the spreadsheet with local businesses looking for help to get back on their feet and help their employees.
Doan’s Family (Lahaina Jewelry) – “If you ever shopped around Front St. and walked into Lahaina Jewelry, you would’ve seen my mom’s radiant smile. Mom had her business for over 30 years and her favorite part of the job was meeting all the wonderful customers. My family are currently safe but they lost everything.”
Lahaina Grill Employees – “So many of you have reached out in search of the best way to help. Our staff is our first priority therefore, all donations made will be distributed DIRECTLY to our staff who are houseless and need basic life necessities and relocation. 40+ employees at Lahaina Grill have lost everything.”
Gazebo Family – “At least four Gazebo employees and their families have had their homes destroyed and were displaced by the Maui fires, specifically The Lahaina fire. The Gazebo is a special place to many people. A magical place. As new details emerge it is becoming clearer that several employees and families have lost homes and belongings. This fund is for anyone who works at The Gazebo and was displaced.”
Joey’s Kitchen & Macadangdang Restaurants Ohanas – “Funds from this GoFundMe campaign will go directly to our Joey’s Kitchen Whalers, Joey’s Kitchen Napili, and Macadangdang staff and their families – who have been impacted by the wildfires Lahaina, Maui.” Also accepting Venmo.
Sunriders Bike Shop – “We have 16 employees that we would like to take care of and keep as many on payroll as possible merging them into 2 stores. We will also use donations to help cover employees’ personal items, cars, bikes and other belongings lost in the fire. As well as relocation assistance. Financially with all the refunds and struggles ahead, we could end upside down, but our passion and drive will remain strong and we will push forward.”
Haleakava Employee ‘OHana – “While we are crushed at the loss of the place we worked so hard to build, we are even more devastated for the members of our teams who lost EVERYTHING. To be able to provide a bit of comfort through donations would be tremendous.”
808 Grindz Cafe
Finally, a special request to donate to the cutest cafe that Sam and I eat at every time we’re in Maui. We were just there in December, and I enjoyed these amazing ube pancakes. The employees are always so friendly and full of aloha and now… they’re gone. 😔
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Please consider donating if you’re able! This is a great way to directly help a small business affected by this disaster. Give what you can, even if it’s just the $5 you would have spent at Starbucks this week.
If you’d rather avoid Venmo or GoFundMe, here are a few larger organizations providing relief directly to Maui.
The Hawaii Community Foundation is using donations to award grants to nonprofit organizations seeking funding to serve on the frontlines of the wildfire. So far, grantees include Aloha Diaper Bank, Maui Humane Society, Blue Water Rafting (to deliver supplies), and Regenerative Education Centers (serving as a relief site alongside FEMA).
Make a monetary donation or hold a virtual food drive.
According to the Hawaii Community Foundation, the Red Cross’ primary focus is providing shelter to those displaced by the fire. To donate, click here and select “Hawaii Wildfires” in the “I want to support” drop-down.
Or, you can text the word HAWAII to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
Travel to Maui
The best way to help Maui is to give the island space while they process and rebuild. At the time of writing this, Hawaii strongly discourages any non-essential travel for the time being, especially to West Maui.
Thank you to everyone who sent me links and information! If you’re someone affected by the wildfire, I’m thinking of you and sending love! And if you know of any other opportunities to donate, please share in the comments!