Tips for contributing to wildfire relief efforts on Maui
An outpouring of support is coming from around the globe for those affected by the devastating wildfires in Maui — the Lahaina Fire is now the deadliest in the past 100 years in the United States, with 89 confirmed dead as of Saturday afternoon — and Hawai‘i counties, with people volunteering and making donations.
While gifts of food, clothing and other physical items are appreciated, the sheer volume of goods donated has begun to overwhelm some groups accepting such donations. Deliveries of donated items have been made by sea to Maui, but emergency workers reported Saturday that vehicles have been unable to take them away from the dock to where survivors need them.
“Canned goods, blankets, clothing and similar donations all need to be handled, stored and then delivered where they are needed,” said James Barros, administrator of the Hawai‘i Emergency Management Agency.
That adds cost and complications.
Cash donations, by contrast, can buy goods that support the local economy and can be delivered exactly where and when needed.
Officials also stress that people should not “self-deploy” to Maui to assist with the disaster response and recovery efforts. The fire-impacted areas are off-limits while fire control and the search for survivors and human remains continues.
Law enforcement will coordinate with residents to provide access to their homes when it is safe. Authorities are also controlling access to the scene to ensure protection for ‘iwi kūpuna (ancestral Hawaiian skeletal remains) and historically and culturally important items.
While disasters often bring out the best of people, they also bring out the scammers.
Click here to learn more about how to protect yourself from scammers and make sure your donation gets into the hands of those who need it.
If you want to help, here are some recommendations:
- Hawai‘i Community Foundation Maui Strong Fund.
- Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement Kāko‘o Maui Fundraiser.
- Maui United Way Maui Fire Disaster Relief.
Organizations or entities that want to assist in the relief effort or to volunteer can contact John Vierra at the Hawai‘i Emergency Management Agency at 808-733-4300, ext. 548, or via email at [email protected].