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Help Lahaina families who lost everything

By Staff | Sep 6, 2018

Maui’s response to the devastating Lahaina brushfire on Aug. 24 has been incredible and inspiring.

Maui firefighters and rescue personnel earned our most heartfelt thanks and admiration for battling the fire (one of the most difficult in Maui Fire Department’s history), rushing people to safety and protecting structures – particularly Lahainaluna High School, the soul of our isolated community.

These heroes will be honored on the field at Sue D. Cooley Stadium before the Lahainaluna varsity football game on Saturday (see page 6).

Tragically, more than 15 West Side families lost their homes. The wind-whipped inferno spread so fast that residents had to flee for their lives – with no time to grab anything.

As news of the evacuations and damage spread on social media, volunteers immediately showed up to shelters – including hotel ballrooms – to help, and donations began flooding into Lahaina.

Nearly a week later, under the theme “Lahaina Strong,” residents and businesses are still stepping up to help victims of Hurricane Lane and the fire.

Two key sites to visit on Facebook are the Lahaina Strong Fundraiser by Jordan Ruidas of Lahaina, which is raising money for the affected families; and the Lahaina Strong-Waiola Resource Hub launched by volunteers who have been collecting donations for the families out of historic Waiola Church on Wainee Street in Lahaina.

As of press time late last week, people donated $137,926 to the Lahaina Strong Fundraiser.

Ruidas explained, “While all of us prepared for Hurricane Lane to hit, NO ONE was prepared for a fire… Over 15 families are now without a home. Most didn’t even have time to grab a bag. All they have are the clothes on their backs.”

I am starting this fundraiser to help these families in this time of need!”

Volunteers at Waiola Church are in awe at the Maui community’s generosity and support.

They posted, “As Lahaina always does, in the face of adversity, we came together and started helping each other out in whatever ways we could. Things happened really fast, and no one skipped a beat in jumping in to make the magic we have witnessed these past few days happen.”

There are many opportunities to continue to help your neighbors. Let’s keep working with a spirit of aloha that is Lahaina Strong.