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Donations, supplies and other necessities are being collected locally to be shipped to Maui

Maui fires, 2023, thumb
Posted at 7:06 PM, Aug 10, 2023

With dozens reported dead in the Maui wildfire, there are ways to help support the community of Maui locally.

“We shipped out three shipments yesterday and they arrived this morning in Hawaii. We’re working on more shipments today and will be working throughout the weekend on some more sizable shipments too,” said Laighton Jones, Director of Emergency Response for Direct Relief.

On Tuesday, disastrous wildfires overtook the town of Lahaina.

Thousands of Maui residents were forced to leave their homes, pets, and belongings behind as wildfires spread over the island. As of Thursday evening, more than 50 people had been confirmed dead.

Local organizations are now helping with disaster relief.

On Wednesday morning, Direct Relief contacted its partners in Maui to determine their needs and how they could support them.

“We are communicating with the Hawaii Department of Health, FEMA, and other federal agencies just to make sure we can continue to support and send the resources that they need into Hawaii at this time,” Jones said.

The organization has 20 partners they work with currently and they're also reaching out to anyone who needs additional assistance.

Several shelters on the island are receiving aid from places like the American Red Cross and Direct Relief.

“Items from different therapeutic categories and we’re also getting requests for first aid supplies, as well as the insulin that I mentioned, and we also have wildfire kits,” said Alycia Clark, Director of Pharmacy and Clinical Affairs at Direct Relief.

Direct Relief specializes in medical products and over-the-counter and prescription medications.

“The last request I just received was for insulin,” Clark continued.

Jones says one of the health clinics that they support is going into the shelters in Maui to provide direct health care.

“One of our long-term partners is in that shelter, providing that kind of care and we’re providing resources like medications and masks for the air quality and hygiene products,” Jones said.

Trained Red Cross volunteers also responded quickly by providing immediate care for thousands who sought refuge in shelters.

“Using our Red Cross warehouses that are staged across the United States to send in clean-up kits or comfort kits and toiletry items,” said Taylor Poisall, Regional Communications Director at the Red Cross.

More help is on the way.

“We are making sure their immediate needs are met — shelter, food, water, and emotional support,” Poisall continues.

“The most important resource we have is our people and our volunteers and so it’s those folks who are headed there to do what they signed up for to provide comfort and care,” Poisall said.

Poisall encourages Californians to take precautions, as well, since we are in the middle of high fire season.

“We encourage anyone to make sure they’re prepared as well by either signing up on the Red Cross emergency app or making sure your emergency kit is stocked as well or you’re signed up for county alerts via their alert system as well,” Poisall said.

If anyone is looking to be reconnected with a loved one who lives in Maui or was traveling there, you can call 1-800 RED CROSS and provide as much information as needed to be reconnected.

If you want to donate to Maui fire relief efforts, you can go to directrelief.org,redcross.org. To sign up to volunteer, visit redcross.org/volunteer.