Let’s Help Maui


There are quite a few of us in the D.C. area who once called Hawaii home. When we encounter one another, an immediate bond is often formed from that fact alone, followed by a peppering of eager questions: “What island are you from? What food do you miss the most? Favorite beach? Is your ohana still there? When was your last visit/when are you going back?” I have also seen numerous people light up at the mention of Hawaii, and particularly Maui, as a place of precious memories made during a special trip, wedding, or honeymoon. They all have a favorite story. It’s a place with so much meaning, to so many people.

Why Maui Matters

My family’s first visit to Hawaii was on the island of Maui. That trip, a celebration of my parents’ tenth anniversary, became the catalyst for our move to the state – they obviously loved it! While I myself left for school and a journey that eventually landed me in the DC area about eighteen years ago, a part of my heart will always belong to the islands.

Photo by Don Stouder on Unsplash

Like many, I watched the devastation of Maui from afar with great sadness. The complete destruction of Lahaina, a beloved place holding substantial historical and cultural significance for the Hawaiian people, is hard to comprehend at this distance. The loss of life, property, and precious island history is tragic. It is now the deadliest wildfire in U.S. history, in over a century. This loss is a tragedy we should view as one affecting us all.

What can those of us all the way across the country do to help Maui? Here is a list of trusted organizations working to support the Maui relief efforts. Please consider helping the community in any you can. While this disaster may seem far away, the Aloha shared by all countrymen during this time will be much appreciated. Let our people in Hawaii know they are not alone!

How to Help Maui

  1. The Maui Strong Fund was established by the Hawai’i Community Foundation to provide financial resources that can be deployed quickly. It is focused on rapid response and recovery. 100 percent of the funds donated will be distributed for community needs: donate to Maui Strong.
  2. American Red Cross: help those affected by the wildfires in Hawaii.
  3. Maui Food bank: disaster relief for Maui.
  4. Maui United Way: Maui fire disaster relief.
  5. Salvation Army (Hawaiian and Pacific Islands Division): food, emotional, and spiritual support.
  6. Catholic Charities:  help Maui fire victims.
  7. KITV posted an extensive list that includes opportunities for those who may be interested in providing aid through special interest channels: help those impacted by the Maui wildfires.
  8. World Central Kitchen, founded by D.C.’s own Chef Jose Andres, serves meals to people recovering from natural disaster crises all over the world. WCK now has a link to help provide fresh meals for the Maui wildfire victims: donate to help feed the Maui community.
  9. Last but not least, the Hawaii Catholic Community Foundation has a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation to support parish and school communities. The affected area includes a large portion of the island community. Contributions are tax-deductible and will directly support relief efforts: support Maui Catholic.

Whether you are an island transplant in the DC area, or spent a memorable holiday/ life event in Maui (or any part of the State of Hawaii), or simply feel called to help, your contributions will be received in one form or another with much gratitude – Mahalo nui Loa (many thanks)!

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Catie Misleh
Catie has lived in the DC area since 2012 and currently resides in McLean, Virginia with her husband, and their son Basil (2020). She spent most of her childhood in California, and then Hawaii before leaving to attend school on the mainland. Like many, after graduating from law school she moved to the DC area for work opportunities and began exploring right away. Now that it is the place she has lived longest, she officially calls it home. Catie describes herself as a hybrid stay-at-home-working mom: she recently started homeschooling her toddler, and also works part-time remotely as a contracts consultant for a nonprofit healthcare system. Favorite things include spending time with her family outdoors, reading, cooking, travel, and exercising. She really, really dislikes being cold, prefers tea over coffee, and enjoys board games as much as binge watching mindless shows after a long day. One of the best parts of momhood for her has been rediscovering all the awesome things this area has to offer through the eyes of her little boy!