(BIVN) – The office of Hawaiʻi County Mayor Mitch Roth on Sunday issued preliminary guidance to Hawaiʻi island residents who wish to aid Maui in its ongoing fire recovery efforts.
“We understand that everyone wants to help Maui right now,” said Mayor Mitch Roth in a news release. “It is what makes Hawaiʻi such an amazing and special place. However, it is important to remember that Maui’s recovery will be a marathon and not a sprint. There are definitely needs that need to be addressed, but it cannot happen all at once. We need to be coordinated and thoughtful to minimize our footprint and maximize our impacts. This guidance aims to achieve these objectives in the short term and set the stage for long-term success.”
Roth says the guidance has been shaped “by the insights of Hawaiʻi Island officials who attended the initial Task Force meeting on August 10th,” as well as leaders from Maui County, non-profit organizations, and local communities who have been in touch in the days following the deadly fires that have destroyed Lāhainā town.
The County news release breaks the guidance down into five categories:
Contribute to High-Impact Organizations
After extensive discussions with officials, non-profit leaders, and community members in Maui, it has been determined that the most effective immediate contribution is through monetary donations to established community-focused organizations with a strong track record of efficiently distributing funds where they will have the greatest influence. These include:
Hold off on physical goods… for now
We know that everyone is eager to donate what they have to the families that lost everything. That’s “local” style and what makes Hawaiʻi such a special place.
While the natural inclination is to provide material goods to families who have lost everything, there is presently no clear mechanism to ensure these items promptly reach those in need. Until a reliable distribution system is in place, it is advised that residents on Hawaiʻi Island refrain from sending physical donations. This approach safeguards both our local community and the broader Hawaiʻi Island population until a clear assessment of needs and on-site resources is available to ensure effective distribution.
Help house those who are displaced
The West Hawaiʻi Realtors Association has curated a housing inventory catalog, encompassing not just Hawaiʻi Island but the entire state in collaboration with other real estate associations.
Their website is set to launch later today, August 11. The site will detail all of the available housing options in real-time, and also offer those willing to offer up a second home, vacation rental, ʻohana unit, or additional space for a displaced Maui resident a platform to do so.
Interested parties should visit mauikokua.com later this afternoon for more information.
Share your talents when the time is right
Numerous members of our community have reached out, offering a diverse range of valuable skill sets that could be deployed to aid in the recovery of Lāhainā and the wider Maui community.
From architects, engineers, and home builders to solar companies, truckers, shippers, pilots, and mental health specialists, many have expressed their willingness to contribute to our efforts. While the recovery process is still in its early stages, these valuable talents have been acknowledged, and all residents will be engaged as Maui formulates its next steps forward.
Stay put until Maui is ready for us
While the desire to lend a hand is strong, it is crucial to remember that Maui’s resources are currently stretched thin. Each individual sent over requires resources like food, fuel, and shelter that could otherwise support displaced residents. This isn’t to say that our assistance isn’t appreciated; it’s just that we need to ensure that our footprint is minimal while our impact is meaningful.
Maui will communicate when it is prepared to accept outside assistance. However, if you have displaced family members requesting help, please heed their call. Our intention is not to speak on their behalf; rather, we aim to limit any unintended adverse effects.
The County added that the guidance will be updated to reflect the evolving situation on Maui. Officials added that “it is important for residents to recognize that Mayor Roth acknowledges the diverse ways individuals are connected to the Maui devastation and encourages responses that match those connections. Nevertheless, the guidance highlights existing capacity challenges that should be handled with attention and sensitivity according to the Mayor’s recommendations.”