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Businesses stepping in to aid Maui residents after the wildfires

Across the United States, many businesses are using their platforms to help those affected by the fires in Maui.
Businesses stepping in to aid Maui residents after the wildfires
Posted at 6:01 PM, Aug 18, 2023

All over the country, people are trying to help people in need in Maui. From big operations like nonprofit organizations to small business owners, many are doing their part to help contribute to the millions of dollars in aid going to the island.

"To see it completely leveled is just shocking. Seeing the footage and the videos and photos coming out is just devastating and hard to wrap your head around," said Shauna Medeiros-Tuilaepa, owner of No Ke Aloha, a Polynesian restaurant in Aurora, Colorado.

Across the United States, there are many businesses just like No Ke Aloha, using their platform to help those affected by the fires in Maui.

"And after that and just watching and processing and just realizing that these people are going to need support, and what we can do as a Pacific Islander and native Hawaiian community in Colorado and what we can do to provide whatever support we can," said Medeiros-Tuilaepa

Medeiros-Tuilaepa still has family in Maui. 

"My initial reaction was to call my family and call my dad and make sure he was okay. Because one of the fires was up-country from him, five to seven miles away," said Medeiros-Tuilaepa.

After the fires she decided to take action and started a fundraiser with other businesses in the area to send aid to Maui.

"There's a few businesses and restaurants that are putting together supply drives and fundraisers going on, and for us personally we put on a fundraiser to be a more united collective effort for the state of Colorado," she said. 

SEE MORE: Hormel donates more than $1 million in Spam to Hawaii after wildfire

In every state, you'll see local businesses starting their own relief fund that their patrons can contribute to. It's impossible to calculate exactly how much has been raised nationally by small businesses, but major nonprofits collecting donations are sharing their numbers.

One of those organizations, the Hawaii Community Foundation, is recommended by the Hawaiian governor.

According to the website, more than $34 million has been donated to the Maui Strong Fund that is distributing those funds to many organizations. Another is the Common Ground Collective — they've received $200,000 to prepare meals. The Family Life Center has raised $250,000 to help shelter displaced families,  and Hale Makua Health Services has been gifted $250,000 for health support for those in need.

"Hawaii has a lot of resources that it needs right now, there's been such an outpour of supplies and stuff being sent to Hawaii and they're having a tough time keeping up with storing it, housing it and distributing it. We're seeing this as more of a marathon approach and not a sprint," said Medeiros-Tuilaepa.

Medeiros-Tuilaepa will continue doing her part, because she says every dollar raised on the mainland can make a difference for those affected by this crisis.

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