It’s been devastating watching the fires in Maui this week, and I’ve been looking for some ways to help. Their hospitals are overwhelmed, historic sites have been burnt to the ground, thousands have been evacuated, families are searching for missing loved ones, and the death toll is rising.
Last Updated Aug 21
If you’ve also noticed that events like these are getting closer together, it’s not in your head; read the NOAA report on the wildfire-climate connection, you’ll see that climate change is a main driver of the increase in fires like these with the “intensity and frequency… increasing at an alarming rate in recent decades.” World Central Kitchen in fact reports that in 2022 alone, they responded to thirty climate-related humanitarian crises across the globe.
For the long term, let’s do everything we can to slow the dreadful impacts of climate change — the UN lists 10 actions for a healthy planet, that are as simple as turning down the AC or heat in your home, switching to LED light bulbs, taking more public transportation, throwing away less food, and easing up on the disposable fast fashion purchases.
But for right now, here are some ways to support Maui directly.
Maui Wildfires: How to Help
Please make sure you’re donating to legitimate, vetted organizations. While there are surely others, I’ve cross-referenced each of these from trusted sources, newspapers, and friends in Hawaii and feel good about recommending each of them. I’ve also added some new organizations helping Maui as they’ve come through from trusted friends and contacts.
Maui Food Bank
Donate directly on their site so they can help those in Maui most in need. They’ve requested online monetary donations, which they need the most. If you’re local, scroll down for a very specific list of donations you can drop off including canned meals, protein bars, toilet paper and feminine hygiene products.
The Wildfire Relief Fund: Direct Relief for Maui
One way to get impactful support to those who really need it is to earmark donations to Maui through The Wildlife Relief Fund. They’re supporting search-and-rescue operations while getting help to those most through partnerships with community organizations Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition of Hawai’i, Malama I Ke Ola Health Center (Community Clinic of Maui), Maui Search and Rescue, and Hui No Ke Ola Pono (Native Hawai’ian Health Center).
WRF has even offered up their full medical inventory valued at over $300mm to hospitals. But I’m really struck by the emergency medical backpacks they are distributing for the needs of paramedics and health professionals–they contain inhalers, antibiotics, maintenance medication for chronic diseases, wound care and more to help avoid overtaxing the hospital emergency rooms.
The Hawai’i Community Foundation — Maui Strong Fund
This impactful 105-year-old organization set up a dedicated fund to provide resources for disaster response and recovery specifically to those impacted in Maui. You can also donate directly to the ‘Āina Momonafundraiser through ActBue, which is easy if you already have an account with them.
World Central Kitchen: #ChefsForHawaii
One of my absolute favorite organizations (I donate monthly to them) has just reported via Instagram that they got their first teams on the ground last night, arriving with sandwiches and water for first responders to start, then today are providing meals for evacuees.
The Maui United Way and Aloha United Way
Both local branches of the United Way are using 100% donations for direct relief to families by working with nonprofits including The Maui Food Bank, The Red Cross, and the Salvation Army.
Hawai’i People’s Fund
For 50 years, they’ve provided community-based philanthropy, and just established Maui Aloha: The Peopleʻs Response to contribute urgent financial support to those directly impacted in Maui.
Kākoʻo Maui Fund
They reached their initial $100,000 goal, which included matching funds from The Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement, Alakaina Foundation Family, and Kakoo Haleakala. However they’re still fundraising and can use all they can get.
Maui Rapid Response
This ahupuaʻa based disaster response team is a citizen collective combining individuals from Maui with nonprofit and direct-aid organizations.They’re funded by the Maui Mutual Aid Fund focusing on support for native Hawaiians and vulnerable members of the local community. President Obama trusts them, so I do too.
The Hawai’i Restaurant Fund
With restaurants stepping up to feed those in need, you can donate to help mobilize donations (food, water, medical supplies, shelter) that support those in Maui, as well as those who have been evacuated to Oahu.
The Maui Humane Society
They’re asking for urgent help for the vast number of pets that have been displaced or hurt. Order items from their Amazon wish list including all kinds of pet food, crates and carriers. Hopefully to reunite them with their owners, soon.
Top image: Eleonora Patricola on Unsplash