Our hearts go out to everyone on Maui. You will remain in our prayers through recovery and as rebuilding begins.
Maui Wildfires 2023
On August 8, 2023, wildfires swept through West Maui and leveled business districts, destroyed historic sites, gutted homes, and caused many deaths. The full effects of the devastation will take many months to unravel and rebuild.
Official channels are the best sources for the latest updates.
- Official Recovery Information: Maui Recovers was launched in September to provide vital information and assistance, including a map that shows reopened zones, to those affected by the destructive fires. For planning purposes, restricted areas in Lahaina have been organized into zones. As areas are opened for access, visitation or re-entry, the County will utilize the zones identified on this map to communicate changes in the status of each zone.
Other news and information sites:
- News, Sports, Jobs – Maui News
- Hawaii News: In-Depth Local News From Honolulu Civil Beat
- Maui County Emergency Management Agency: Maui County Emergency Management Agency and County of Maui | Facebook
Visitors who have planned travel anywhere in Hawaii can find updated information at Hawaii Tourism Authority.
- As of Sept 9, 2023: Nonessential travel to West Maui is strongly discouraged through October 7, 2023. More info: Hawaii Emergency Management Agency | Governor Green Issues Seventh Proclamation Relating to Wildfires
- Travelers are encouraged to visit other areas of Maui (including Kahului, Wailuku, Kīhei, Wailea, Mākena, Pāʻia and Hāna), as well as the other Hawaiian Islands of Kauaʻi, Oʻahu, Lānaʻi, Molokaʻi and Hawaiʻi Island.
Best ways to help when disaster strikes
The best way to help whenever a disaster strikes anywhere in the world is to donate money established charities and funds. Every dollar you donate to well-established aid organizations go toward relief efforts. Above all, beware of charity frauds that claim to be raising money in any disaster. Before you donate your hard-earned money to a scammer, read FBI Tips on Avoiding Charity Fraud or check that the agency is top-rated by the independent charity rating group, Charity Navigator. Especially be aware of organizations with similar sounding names to well-established ones. If you have any doubt, you can donate to a charity directly from a link on Charity Navigator.
- Scroll down for a suggested list of established charities and funds in Hawaii and elsewhere to support a variety of missions and causes.
Under no circumstances should you mail or drop-off care packages, toys, food, or clothes. Donating goods often become a burden. A system is required to accept, manage, sort, warehouse, and distribute supplies that often aren’t things people need. The only exception is when a credible organization requests specific supplies and is already set up to receive them. This is why cash is preferred…it is always useful, no matter the situation or need.
- Supply drives are largely suspended. Supplies were needed in the week after the disaster until emergency services could setup shelters and organize supplies for distribution.
Under no circumstances should you travel to an area affected by disaster to “help”. Disaster areas request that individuals do not “self-deploy” and arrive alone. Only work through an established relief organization. Volunteers who self-deploy often find they lack resources and are unable to help, and many end up requiring rescue themselves, placing further burden on an already ravaged area.
- Scroll down for a list of Volunteer Opportunities supporting various organizations throughout Hawaiʻi.
Are you prepared for disaster? If you are not in an affected area, this is a good time to make sure you are prepared in the event of a disaster. In Hawai’i, we typically need to prepare for floods, tsunamis, and earthquakes. Find resources and information for making a family plan and your disaster kits or “go” bags at Hawaii Emergency Management Agency.
Maui Wildfires disaster relief: where to donate or volunteer
Disaster relief resources are being pressed into service at every level, including federal, state, and county agencies. Grassroots efforts at fundraising are evident across the pae ʻāina. Disaster recovery will take many weeks and rebuilding much longer. We can all step in and help. Scroll down to find out where you can donate cash, drop-off requested supplies, or volunteer your time.
Donate cash to support Maui wildfire victims
Hawaii Attorney General Anne Lopez reminds residents to use caution when choosing where to send their money and donations. Scams become more prevalent after high-profile disasters. If you donate, donate to trusted, well-known charities. Checks to large organizations such as Red Cross and Salvation Army should designate the funds for local relief, rather than the general fund. If someone is fundraising on behalf of a charity you are familiar with, the best practice is to donate directly to that charity. Weʻve compiled a list of reputable sources below.
(Listed alphabetically by name)
- Chef Hui. In partnership with UH Maui Culinary Arts Program and partners (local cooks, farmers, and community leaders), donations to the Maui Relief Fund are used on Maui to prepare meals to feed people and support workers in the restaurant and hospitality industry.
- Commonground Collective coordinates with UH, Chef Hui, World Central Kitchen, and various government agencies to provide meals for those in shelters and in the community at various community hubs using local products as much as possible.
- Hawaii Bankers Association has launched “Aloha for Maui” with $25,000 and will accept cash donations statewide at HBA member institutions. Make checks out to “Hawaiʻi Community Foundation” with “Maui Strong” written in the note section.
- Hawaii Peoples Fund – Maui Aloha: The Peopleʻs Response is grassroots, community-based fund to ensure the safety of our most vulnerable communities.
- Help Maui | University of Hawai‘i Foundation provides financial assistance for the UH ‘ohana – on any campus – who are affected by these terrible events on Maui. 100% of donations directly support students, faculty, staff, and the Maui community.
- Ho‘ōla Maui | Kamehameha Schools has two funds: Ho‘ōla Maui Fund (help Maui families get keiki back to school), KS I Mua Maui Fund (help our Kamehameha ‘ohana on Maui).
- Kākoʻo Maui is raising fund for Maui organizations to support relief efforts. Every dollar donated will be matched up to $3,000,000.
- Maui County Food Bank requests volunteers and donations of cash or food (see list on their website).
- Maui Forest Bird Recovery Center fundraiser for clean-up efforts at their facility and to replace gear donated to help house and shelter those in need.
- Maui Humane Society requests foster homes and donations of cash or pet supplies (see list on their website).
- Maui Mutual Aid Fund (bit.ly/mauimutualaide) is a volunteer group raising funds via PayPal to support the most vulnerable residents without insurance.
- Maui Restaurants Asking for Help for Their Workers (honolulumagazine.com)
- Maui Strong Fund – Hawaii Community Foundation to help aid communities affected by the Maui Wildfires.
- Salvation Army Hawaii: Love Beyond Wildfires 2023. 100% of all donations designated “disaster relief” to support disaster operations.
- UNITED WAY | Maui Fire Relief Fund is a special Aloha United Way relief fund for Maui fire victims.
Beware of charity frauds that claim to be raising money, which always appear during any disaster. Do not contribute to GoFundMe campaigns or other cash requests unless you personally know the recipients and trust the person collecting the money. Search for other legitimate charity at Hawaii Charities (ehawaii.gov) or Charity Navigator | Hawaii Wildfires
Donate points, miles, and more
Note: cash is best so that organizations can purchase the most needed supplies. However, if you have points or miles that are about to expire or will go unused, consider donating via your rewards account to charities listed. Your donation will average only a few cents per point or mile and are not tax deductible. Cash goes further to help those in need, if you have some to give.
- Foodland Supermarkets are accepting donations of Makai points at checkout to support the American Red Cross of Hawaii’s efforts toward Maui fire relief.
- Hawaiian Airlines will match every mile donated to American Red Cross Hawaii in the month of August, up to 30 million miles. HawaiianMiles rewards members can login and donate miles at HawaiianMiles Account Login | Hawaiian Airlines.
- These O‘ahu Shops Are Donating 100% of Profits to Maui’s Recovery (honolulumagazine.com)
Although a constant blood supply is always needed for surgeries and accidents, when a large disaster strikes, the need for blood goes up. Due to the Maui wildfire disastater, the donations are urgently needed from O+ and O- donors, as well as A+ type for plasma.
The qualifications to be a blood donor are simple: be in good health, at least 18 years of age (no upper limit), weigh at least 110 pounds, have a photo ID with your birth date. It is recommended to drink eight to 10 glasses of water within the 24 hours prior to your appointment, eat a healthy, hearty meal, and get adequate rest.
You can find a donation center open every day. More info: Blood Bank of Hawaii. (bbh.org)
- Supply drives are largely suspended as they are no longer the most effective way of getting relief to those who need our help.
Donate time (volunteer opportunities)
- Maui County Food Bank requests volunteers, as well as donations of cash or food (see their website for details).
- Maui Humane Society requests volunteer foster homes, as well as donations of cash or pet supplies (see their website for details).
- Salvation Army Volunteer Site (usawest.org). A variety of volunteer opportunities are available.
- Volunteer | Hawaii Region | American Red Cross. Volunteers carry out 90% of the humanitarian work of the Red Cross. People with many types of skills are needed. Find a role that fits your skills: Volunteer Match: Role Finder | Red Cross
More Hawaiʻi Relief Organizations
Listed below are community service organizations that directly support ʻohana across the Hawaiian Islands. This is by no means a complete list of reputable organizations in Hawaiʻi. Our list focused on a few organizations offering assistance with food, farming, housing, marine resources, and education. Each has a Charity Navigator rating of 90-100%. If you cannot donate cash, many of these organizations also need volunteers.
(Listed alphabetically by organization name)
- American Red Cross | Hawaii Region (redcross.org)
- Assistance League – Hawaii (assistanceleague.org)
- Habitat for Humanity across Hawaiʻi (habitat.org)
- Hawaii Community Foundation (hawaiicommunityfoundation.org)
- Hawaii Farmers Union United (hfuuhi.org)
- Ku’ikahi Mediation Center serving East Hawaiʻi (hawaiimediation.org)
- Maui Nui Marine Resource Council (mauireefs.org)
- Moloka’i Community Service Council (molokai.org)
- Purple Maiʻa (purplemaia.org)
- Salvation Army | Hawaiian and Pacific Islands Division (hawaii.salvationarmy.org)
- The Food Basket – Ending Hunger on Hawai‘i Island Since 1989 (hawaiifoodbasket.org)
- The Pantry | Feeding Hawai’i Together (thepantry.org)
Other Recommended Disaster Relief Organizations
Following is our suggested list of organizations who regularly respond in disaster and relief situations, are best equipped to assist those in need, and highly rated by Charity Navigator (4 stars+) for accountability and transparency.
Emergency Service Relief Organizations
Aga Khan Foundation is committed to breaking the cycle of poverty. While inspired by the values of Islam – particularly consultation, solidarity with those less fortunate, self-reliance and human dignity – the Foundation is not a religious organization and represents all religions and persuasions. They are driven by the belief that when all people – regardless of faith, origin or gender – live and work side by side to improve their communities, the fabric of society is stronger.
American Jewish World Service is dedicated solely to ending poverty and promoting human rights in the developing world. Through philanthropy and advocacy, they’ve addressed some of the gravest global problems of our time—genocide, AIDS, violence against women and girls, hatred of LGBT people, and the horrific consequences of natural and human-made disasters.
AmeriCares is a global health and emergency response organization. They can quickly dispatch local emergency response teams from their offices worldwide with shipments of medical aid and relief supplies for those affected.
Baitulmaal works to alleviate poverty, restore hope and dignity through emergency relief and long-term sustainable development in health, education, and community empowerment.
Catholic Relief Services maintains field offices worldwide to provide emergency relief materials such as tarpaulins/shelter kits, water, sanitation and hygiene material.
Global Giving is the first and largest global crowdfunding community that connects vetted nonprofits, donors, and companies in nearly every country around the world. They help local nonprofits access the funding, tools, training, and support they need to become more effective.
Entertainment Community Fund provides a safety net of human services nationally for people who work in film, theater, television, music, opera, radio and dance—everyone on stage, in front of the camera, or behind the scenes—to address the specific needs of entertainment professionals in the often unpredictable industry.
Helping Hand for Relief And Development is a global humanitarian relief and development organization responding to human sufferings in emergency and disaster situations around the world regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, class, location, religion, color, cultural diversity and social background, with a special focus in countries where the majority of the population lives below the poverty line. In addition to emergency relief efforts in natural or man-made disasters, they also work on long term relief and development programs.
ICNA Relief USA seeks to alleviate human suffering by providing caring and compassionate service to victims of adversities and survivors of disasters. ICNA Relief USA strives to build healthy communities, strengthen families and create opportunities for those in despair while maintaining dignity and advocating for basic human needs.
International Rescue Committee (IRC) responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises, helping to restore health, safety, education, economic wellbeing, and power to people devastated by conflict and disaster. IRC is governed by a volunteer, unpaid board of directors. IRC teams provide health care, infrastructure, learning and economic support to people in more than 40 countries, with special programs designed for women and children. They resettle thousands of refugees each year in 26 U.S. cities.
Water Mission is a nonprofit Christian organization that designs, builds and implements safe water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) solutions for people in developing countries and disaster areas, using innovative technology and engineering expertise.
World Relief (as originated within the National Association of Evangelicals) focuses on disaster response, health and child development, refugee and immigration services, economic development and peacebuilding, working holistically with the local church to stand for the sick, the widowed, the orphaned, the alienated, the displaced, the devastated, the marginalized and the disenfranchised.
Zakat Foundation of America is an international charity organization that helps generous and caring people reach out to those in need. Their goal is to address immediate needs and ensure the self-reliance of the poorest people around the world. They believe that those whom God has granted wealth need to cleanse that wealth through charity, and those whom God has tried with loss are accorded a rightful share from the resources of the affluent.
Crisis Services for Children and Families
Action Against Hunger USA is a global organization that takes decisive action against the causes and effects of hunger, saving the lives of malnourished children and ensuring everyone access to clean water, food, training, and healthcare.
Crisis Aid International concentrates efforts in East Africa and the United States serving children and families who are in crisis situations. Whether it be famine, disease, natural disaster, or sex trafficking, Crisis Aid is there to assist in sustaining life, bring encouragement to those suffering and collaborate with other relief organizations in bringing necessary foods, materials and medicines to people in times of crisis, particularly where life and death situations exist.
First Book creates equal access to quality education affordable – everything from brand new, high-quality books and educational resources, to sports equipment, winter coats, snacks, and more – for its member network of more than 375,000 educators who exclusively serve kids in need. It is the largest and fastest-growing network of educators in the United States exclusively serving kids in need.
Focus Humanitarian Assistance (FOCUS) is an International crisis response and disaster risk management agency, providing relief and assistance following natural disasters, as well as resettlement programs for displaced families and extended relief and recovery support for communities living in vulnerable environments.
Hispanic Federation works with over 100 Latino health and human services agencies to promote the social, political and economic well-being of the Latino community in the areas of education, health, immigration, civic engagement, economic empowerment, the environment and disaster relief. With offices in New York, Washington D.C., Connecticut and Florida, and a nonprofit footprint throughout the East Coast, HF uplifts millions of Hispanic children, youth and families locally and nationally.
International Relief Teams (IRT) provides health services and humanitarian assistance to victims of disaster, neglect, and profound poverty worldwide. During disasters, IRT chooses appropriate responses to leverage donor resources to their highest effectiveness, including deploying medical and reconstruction teams, providing relief supplies, or financing the restoration of livelihoods and infrastructure.
Medical Care Relief Organizations
Direct Relief is a nonprofit that specializes in providing international medical assistance. It coordinates with local partners to focus relief efforts where the need is greatest.
Doctors Without Borders (Medecins Sans Frontieres) helps people worldwide where the need is greatest, delivering emergency medical aid to people affected by conflict, epidemics, disasters or exclusion from health care. The organization was started by French doctors and its first office was in Paris, but there are now branch offices around the world.
Pathfinder International maintains the right of women and families to have access to contraception and quality reproductive health care in remote locations, under the most difficult conditions, serving the most vulnerable people. They collaborate with governments, NGOs, and community- and faith-based organizations to ensure safe childbirth, healthy families, HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment, reproductive health, and family planning programs.
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