The fire that swept through the town of Lahaina on the island of Maui is now the deadliest U.S. wildfire in more than 100 years — with flames at times moving as fast as a mile a minute. More than 2,200 structures in the historic town were either damaged or destroyed in the August 8 fire. A map from the Maui Emergency Management Agency shows what little is left.
Right now, emergency management officials are working to supply those left homeless from the fire with basic needs — food, water, and shelter. Everyone is also keenly aware that the families devastated by this fire will need help for time to come; many not only losing their homes but also their livelihoods in a matter of hours.
Hawai’i Governor Josh Green says the state is working with hotels and vacation rental organizations to house the homeless and emergency management workers. He says some hotels will also continue to operate as normal to help the local economy.
For those wanting to help, below is a list of organizations that are accepting monetary donations. Some businesses are accepting donations on behalf of their employees and families have also started GoFundMe pages.
Maui Strong Fund
The Maui Strong Fund is focused on rapid response and recovery. The Hawai’i Community Foundation says it will not be collecting a fee for donations with 100 percent of the funds distributed for community needs.
Maui Food Bank
The Maui Food Bank says it can provide four meals for every dollar donated and offers a way for those living around the world to hold virtual food drives.
World Central Kitchen
The World Central Kitchen goes into disaster areas to help feed those in need. WCK is now on the ground serving meals to the homeless and emergency workers.
An organization dedicated to creating a sustainable Hawai’i, ‘Aina Momona is collecting donations for the Maui Strong Fund. It is also collecting money to donate directly to the Maui residents. It lists verified GoFundMe pages for local families as well.
The Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement is a non-profit organization focused on helping Native Hawaiians through cultural, economic, political, and community development.
Hawai’i Fire Relief Housing Program
The goal of this program, through the Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corporation, is to connect those left homeless from the fire with property owners. Those who are able to help and those in need of help can access the necessary forms on their dedicated landing page.
PWF ‘Ohana Relief Fund
The Pacific Whale Foundation is working to provide immediate support for its employees, many who’ve lost everything. PWF’s PacWhale Eco-Adventures offered award-winning and responsible ocean ecotours, including whale watching, sunset cruises, and snorkeling trips. PWF is a non-profit organization focused on protecting the ocean through science and advocacy and inspires environmental stewardship.
Hawaii State Teachers Association (HSTA)
HSTA is helping teachers affected by the Maui wildfires.
Kokua Restaurant & Hospitality Fund
The Hawai’i Ag & Culinary Alliance is supporting restaurant, bar, and hospitality workers displaced by the wildfires. West Maui was home to the Hawai’i Food & Wine Festival.
More Ways To Donate
“Vacation travel to West Maui is strongly discouraged for the near future… with the collective resources and attention of the federal, state, and county government… focused on the recovery of residents who were forced to evacuate their homes and businesses,” said the Hawai’i Tourism Authority. “Travel to the other Hawaiian Islands, Like Kauai, Oahu, Lanai, and Hawai’i Island, are not affected at this time.”
Maui County is also offering daily updates on its website about emergency and relief services.
While many know Lahaina as a vacation destination, it is also historically significant. Lahaina was the capital of the Kingdom of Hawai‘i for 25 years. The Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement shared the following about Lahaina for those who may not be aware of its cultural significance.
Lahaina is “home to the sacred Moku‘ula, the piko (center) of the Kingdom and the burial home to many of our ali‘i (chiefs). The loss of any ʻāina (land) is deeply felt by our community, but the destruction we’ve seen in Lahaina will be a scar felt for generations to come.”