How to Help the Victims of the Devastating Maui Wildfires

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dozens killed in maui wildfire leaving the town of lahaina devastated

Justin Sullivan//Getty Images

Since Tuesday, large-scale wildfires have devastated the state of Hawaii, specifically the Island of Maui, with fatalities reaching 93 as of Sunday.

The various wildfires on Maui have decimated the entire community of Lahaina and have caused hundreds of acres of land, historic buildings, and homes to burn to the ground. It has also caused days-long power outages, and many people to have lost contact with loved ones who are still unaccounted for. The widespread destruction is unavoidable for Maui residents.

State Governor Josh Green said in a press conference that the town of Lahaina has suffered near-total decimation. “Lahaina, with a few rare exceptions, has been burned down… without a doubt, it feels like a bomb was dropped on Lahaina.”

President Biden approved a national disaster declaration for Hawaii, unlocking federal resources to help in the massive response efforts to the ongoing wildfires. Many public figures have come forward to contribute to relief efforts, including Oprah, Jeff Bezos, and Jason Momoa. But the impact of the devastation is so massive, no amount of help is too small.

If you’re wondering how you can help Maui, agencies are standing by to turn your aloha into action. Here are ways to get involved.

Avoid Tourism

  • Respect the wishes of those in Maui during this time and avoid unnecessary travel to Maui. The community needs time to heal, grieve, and restore. This means the less visitors on the island taking up extremely limited and critical resources, the better.
  • The American Hotel & Lodging Association and Hawaii Hotel Alliance are currently working with hotels in other parts of Hawaii to house displaced residents. This is why it’s important to not use these resources.

dozens killed in maui wildfire leaving the town of lahaina devastated

A boat destroyed by a wildfire sits in the water on August 11, 2023 in Lahaina, Hawaii.

Justin Sullivan//Getty Images

Volunteer Locally

  • If you are based in Hawaii and can safely get out and volunteer, The American Red Cross of Hawaii is working tirelessly to offer aid to the wildfire victims.
  • Hawaii Restaurant Association is also organizing donations and local volunteer efforts on Maui and for evacuees on Oahu. You can contribute to relief efforts on Maui here.
  • If you’re Maui-based and have room for furry friends, foster a Maui Humane Society animal. The animals in their facility are safe, but the organization needs to free up space to take in more displaced pets.

Donate

  • American Red Cross of Hawaii, Hawaii Restaurant Association, and Maui Humane Society seek donations and volunteers.
  • Hawaiian Salvation Army is providing meals for thousands displaced inMaui emergency shelters. They’re accepting donations here.
  • The Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement, Alakaina Foundation Family, and Kako’o Haleakala will match up to $100,000 in donations for Kako’o Maui. Funds will go to families and businesses. You can donate here.
  • GoFundMe has set up a verified fundraiser page for affected individuals and families. Check them out here.
  • HSTA is accepting donations and has compiled a list of fundraising pages for teachers in need. Help out Hawaii teachers here.
  • Aloha United Way has created the Maui Relief Fund that will go directly to efforts supporting victims of the fires. You can donate here.
  • The Maui Food Bank seeks monetary donations to feed thousands of displaced residents. Donations can be made here.
    • The Maui Food Bank is asking the public to limit phone and email inquiries so the organization can focus on emergency relief.
  • Maui Mutual Aid is seeking donations to support Maui families, kupuna, people with disabilities, and those without insurance. Donations can be made here.

  • The Maui Strong Fund by the Hawaii Community Foundation will supportMaui communities affected by recent fires, including response and recovery efforts.
    • Donations can be made on their website.
    • Donations can also be made through ‘Āina Momona here.
  • Vegas residents, Maui Relief has donation bins in Las Vegas. Las Vegas businesses, including Honors Brand, 9th Island Kava, 2 Scoops of Aloha, and Generations Kitchen, participate in the drop-off from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.
  • The businesses ask for first aid supplies, toiletries, water, dry food, and clothes. For more information, click here.

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Caelan Hughes

Caelan Hughes is a writer raised in Up Country, Maui and Honolulu, Oahu, with an affinity for SPAM. She is currently working as a Digital Producer at Hawaii News Now. Previous bylines include BuzzFeed and Seventeen.com.

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