Maui, Lahaina united.
Hurricane Lane and the resulting fires in Lahaina will be talked about for years to come. Fire consumed 2,000 acres from Lahainaluna to Launiupoko and families lost their homes. Firefighters risked their lives to save Lahainaluna High School – a feat which many say was nothing short of a miracle. But it’s what emerged in the aftermath that gives us cause for celebration and hope – and that’s how people banded together to help one another.
“Maui, especially West Maui, has always been a close-knit community, and when people see a great need they step up to the plate,” said Lanny Tihada, operations manager for Kaanapali Land Management Corp. “I think you really see people come together when natural disasters and devastating events like this occur. Ordinary citizens become everyday heroes.”
West Maui resident Jordan Ruidas launched a Lahaina Strong Fundraiser through Facebook to assist families affected by the West Maui fires. As of Aug. 30, over $130,000 has been raised. To make a donation, visit www.facebook.com/donate/220520352147861/. For a current list of items needed by these families, visit the Lahaina Strong-Waiola Resource Hub Facebook page. There will also be a fundraiser event on Saturday, Sept. 8, at Lahaina Gateway from 12 noon to 8 p.m. A $5 donation will be appreciated to enjoy music, silent auction, keiki corner and much more. Funds raised will be equally dispersed to the families.
Other efforts to help families impacted by the storm/fire include:
Habitat Maui is seeking donations of leftover plywood. Any donations are tax-deductible, and the materials will be made available at the ReStore to those affected by the storm. For information, call 242-1140 or visit www.habitat-maui.org.
The Maui Food Technology Center will hold a community donation drive during their Maui Sunday Market event on Sunday, Sept. 9, at Kahului Shopping Center from 4 to 8 p.m. For more information, visit www.MauiSundayMarket.com.
On Saturday, Sept. 8, immediately following the Lahainaluna vs. Kamehameha junior varsity football game and before the kickoff of the varsity game at Sue D. Cooley Stadium, Lahainaluna High School will honor those who helped with the recent fires. The school is asking everyone involved – first responders, businesses and the greater community – to check in at 6 p.m. at the bottom main entrance of the stadium. Those who wear their company uniform will receive complimentary admission to the game. Lahainaluna PTSA will also present these individuals with free admission tickets to their Festival I Ka Nani O Lele.
“We’re overwhelmed with gratitude,” said Pakalana Phillips, Lahainaluna High School student activities coordinator. “For us, we were amazed at the support received by this community. Everyone came together to help. If not for these unsung heroes, without their tenacity in putting out this fire, we wouldn’t have a school to go back to. Honoring these amazing people on Sept. 8 is our way to say mahalo.”
“No one can predict when unforeseen events like this fire and potential natural disasters will occur; however, it’s great to know that this community has your back and that we are all united,” said Tihada.