MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. (KRON) – People across the State of California and the Bay Area are rallying together to help thousands of people displaced from the wildfires on Maui.
The Bay Area has many ties to Hawaii. Within hours of news getting out about the deadly wildfire on Maui, organizations figured out a way to get supplies and aid over.
Supplies just touched down on Maui from Hope Hanger, a food pantry in Mountain View. The organization partnered up with Vive Church to send items to people who survived the massive wildfire.
“Diapers, boxes of wipes, supplies. Anything you would need. We got a list from the shelters,” said Michelle Stewart, executive director of Hope Hangar.
The organization also created the Maui Hope Fund, raising more than $9,000 so far.
“We don’t really realize how much the island of Maui and that area specifically has impacted families across the world and to the Bay Area,” Stewart said. “It was very easy to see with the outpouring of love we saw within hours of putting the fund out.”
On Maui more than 2,000 structures burned to the ground, destroying the entire town of Lahaina. People who survived the wildfire are reeling after losing their homes and businesses.
It is a reality all too familiar for Californians throughout our history with deadly wildfires.
“More than anybody, Californians know what it’s like to deal with wildfires. We know the environmental damage, the physical damage, the damage to the economy,” said Brian Rice, chairman of the California Fire Foundation.
The foundation helped raise money for those in need after the Camp and Carr fires.
“There are so many similarities in both of those incidents and what is going on in Lahaina right now,” he said.
The foundation has created a relief fund on behalf of the Hawaii Professional Firefighters’ Association so that it can be distributed to people displaced on Maui. It is also for firefighters who have been injured or affected by the fires. Nearly $30,000 has been raised so far.
”I think now is the time for Californians… many of us have visited the islands and experienced the Aloha… now is the time that we give Aloha back,” Rice said.
The foundation ensures 100% of the proceeds will go directly to survivors. Rice advises all to make sure before you donate to an organization, make sure it’s legitimate.
“There are a lot of organizations that are springing up, and their intention is to make a dollar,” he said. “The money they collect will never see Hawaii or Maui. My caution to all Californians: Do your homework on the charities you chose to donate to.”