How to Help: Supporting Maui After the Fires

How to Help: Supporting Maui After the Fires

The serene landscapes of Maui have recently been marred by the devastating wildfires, leaving a trail of destruction in areas like Lahaina and Kula. Over 25,000 acres have been scorched, displacing countless residents and affecting the local ecosystem. The fires, fueled by dry conditions and strong winds, have posed a significant challenge to our emergency services and the broader community.

However, the resilience of Maui's people shines through. In times of crisis, the importance of community support becomes evident. It's the collective strength and unity of our community that becomes the beacon of hope. Neighbors helping neighbors, strangers becoming friends, and the entire island coming together showcases the true essence of the Aloha spirit.

For those wondering how they can extend their support, we've curated a vast list filled with verified local charities and larger organizations actively aiding in relief efforts. Whether you're looking to donate, volunteer, or simply raise awareness, every gesture counts.


Supporting Local Efforts First

Our community has always been at the forefront of coming together in times of need. In the wake of the Maui fires, several local organizations and charities have stepped up to provide immediate relief and support to those affected. We prioritize and encourage supporting these local efforts first, as they have a direct impact on our community members.

1. Maui Humane Society:

  • They have been actively involved in rescuing and providing medical attention to lost or missing pets, with an estimated 3,000 pets affected by the fires. They are also working with emergency response teams to cater to the needs of pets in Lahaina. More Info

2. Hawaii Community Foundation - Maui Strong:

  • This foundation has set up the Maui Strong Fund to provide resilience and resources to those affected by the fires. They are actively involved in relief efforts and are accepting donations to further their cause. More Info

3. Kākoʻo Maui:

  • Kākoʻo Maui is a campaign that aims to provide immediate relief to those affected by the wildfires. They are accepting donations and are actively involved in on-ground relief efforts. More Info

4. GoFundMe - Verified Fundraisers:

  • A centralized hub dedicated to the Maui wildfires relief efforts. This platform featuring only verified fundraisers, ensuring that your donations go directly to support the affected community, families, and individuals on their road to recovery. Read their stories & Donate Here
5. Foodland Stores:
  • Foodland stores are accepting donations at checkout to support the American Red Cross of Hawaii’s efforts toward Maui fire relief. Shoppers can make donations of up to $249, donate 250 Maikai points ($5 equivalent donation), round up purchases to the nearest dollar, or simply donate change.
6. HSTA (Hawaii State Teachers Association):
    • HSTA is accepting donations and has compiled a list of fundraising pages for teachers in need due to the fires. More Info & Donate
    7. Hawaiian Airlines:
      • Hawaiian Airlines is offering a platform where individuals can donate their miles to charity. These miles can be used to transport relief workers, move supplies, or assist those affected by the fires. More Info


      Supporting Larger Organizations 

      While local efforts are our primary focus, larger organizations also play a crucial role in disaster relief. They bring in resources, expertise, and a broader reach that can be invaluable during such times.

      1. American Red Cross of Hawaii:

      • The Red Cross is working tirelessly to offer aid to wildfire victims. They are seeking both monetary donations and volunteers to assist in their efforts. More Info & Donate

      2. Hawaii Salvation Army:

      • The Salvation Army is providing meals for thousands displaced in Maui emergency shelters. They are seeking monetary donations, large volume meal donations from restaurants, and certified kitchens. All money donated for disaster relief will directly support disaster operations. More Info & Donate

      Donation Drop-Off Sites

      Across the Hawaiian islands and even as far as the “9th island”, Las Vegas, donation drop-off sites have been overwhelmed by community support. So much so that many are now currently at capacity.

      The most pressing need now is for volunteers, who are in the processing and distribution of items and monetary. The challenge is getting the right resources to each individuals needs. and the long-term rebuilding process that lies ahead. Monetary donations gives the power to those on the ground to acquire exactly what they need as well as for the long-term rebuilding process that lies in the weeks and months ahead.


      Why Local?

      Our emphasis on local support stems from a deep-rooted belief in the strength and unity of the Hawaiian community. Many families have cherished their homes and lands for generations. We understand the profound significance of preserving the land for its rightful stewards. Our commitment is to the 'āina (land) and its enduring legacy.


      Avoiding Scams

      In the aftermath of any disaster, while many come forward to help and support, there are also those who seek to exploit the situation for personal gain. It's an unfortunate reality that disaster-related scams emerge during these times, preying on the goodwill of people wanting to help. Here's how you can protect yourself and ensure your contributions make a real difference:

      The Reality of Disaster-Related Scams: Scammers often take advantage of the chaos and urgency following a disaster. They may pose as charities, relief organizations, or even victims themselves, using various tactics to deceive well-intentioned donors.

      Tips on Recognizing and Avoiding Potential Scams:

      1. Research Before Donating: Before making a donation, take a moment to research the organization or individual. Look for their history, past relief efforts, and any potential red flags.
      2. Beware of High-Pressure Tactics: Scammers often create a sense of urgency, pressuring you to donate immediately. Legitimate organizations will never rush you into making a donation.
      3. Avoid Cash Donations: If possible, avoid giving cash. Use checks or credit cards, which can be traced and verified. If donating online, ensure the website is secure (look for "https://" in the URL).
      4. Ask Questions: When approached for a donation, ask how the funds will be used. A legitimate organization will be transparent about their operations and how donations are allocated.
      5. Be Wary of Unsolicited Communications: Be cautious if you receive unsolicited emails, phone calls, or messages asking for donations. Verify the source before taking any action.

      Importance of Verifying Charities and Fundraisers:

      1. Check with Established Charity Evaluators: Websites like Charity Navigator, BBB Wise Giving Alliance, and GuideStar provide information on charities, helping you make informed decisions.
      2. Look for Official Verification: Many platforms, like GoFundMe, have verification processes in place for disaster-related fundraisers. Look for badges or markers indicating a fundraiser has been verified.
      3. Trust Local: Often, local organizations and charities have a better understanding of the community's needs. Consider supporting these groups, but again, always do your research.

      While the desire to help and contribute is commendable, it's essential to ensure that your support reaches the right hands. By staying informed and vigilant, you can make a meaningful difference without falling prey to scams.

      From the heart of Maui, we've witnessed the incredible resilience and unity of our 'ohana in the face of adversity. The spirit of Aloha isn't just a saying; it's a lived experience, evident in the way our community has come together during these trying times.

      To our friends and extended family beyond our shores, your concern and eagerness to support have not gone unnoticed. Every gesture, whether it's a donation to a local charity, supporting our businesses, or simply spreading the word, resonates deeply with us. It's a testament to the universal spirit of community and compassion.

      In gratitude, we thank each and every one of you for extending your hand in solidarity with Maui. With collective efforts, the island will not only heal but will continue to be a testament to the resilience and spirit of the Hawaiian community. Mahalo nui loa. 🌺🤙🏽

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