How 7 Local Nonprofits Are Supporting Their Communities After The Maui Wildfires

As recovery efforts after the devastating Maui wildfires continue, local organizations are at the forefront. Here’s how they’re working tirelessly to support their communities.


The Maui wildfires, now the deadliest in the United States since 1918, have affected thousands of people on the island. The Lahaina fire burned 2,170 acres and more than 2,220 buildings—almost 90% of them were residential. Locally based nonprofits are ensuring that their neighbors have what they need—from food and shelter to diapers for families with young children—in the aftermath of the wildfires. Here’s how seven Maui nonprofits have been responding:

    1. Arc of Maui

    For almost 70 years, this Hawaii-based nonprofit has been working to promote and protect the human rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Sadly, the Maui wildfires directly impacted the Arc of Maui staff, limiting their ability to serve their community members. But the team was undaunted. Staff who were able to help have been working with donation centers to collect basic supplies. They are also trying to purchase specialized items like beds and medical equipment for those who were forced to relocate from the organization’s group home for people with disabilities in Lahaina to a safe, temporary home in Wailuku.

    2. Upcountry Strong

    This local, grassroots nonprofit is dedicated to supporting people who don’t have reliable access to food in the Upcountry Maui community. The 100% volunteer-run organization started reaching out to neighbors affected by the Maui wildfires immediately to meet their needs for food, clothing, and shelter. The organization coordinated daily projects for their crew to remove debris and other materials that could fuel a fire and create fire lines. Upcountry Strong is also providing housing support, food, and distributing supplies in the aftermath of the fires.

    Support community-led nonprofits responding to the Maui wildfires through GlobalGiving.

    3. Hawai’i People’s Fund

    The community-led Hawai’i People’s Fund supports and amplifies the work of Hawaii-based grassroots organizations assisting marginalized populations. By Aug. 11, the fund had already begun raising money in response to the Maui wildfires to provide grants to local, community-based organizations and intermediaries. Community leaders are directly involved in grantmaking decisions to ensure that funds raised effectively serve the community. The Hawai’i People’s Fund has distributed 14 Maui Aloha Urgent Action grants to organizations like Koʻihonua, which used the grant money to purchase solar generators, conventional generators, coolers, and tents for temporary shelter.

    4. Hui No Ke Ola Pono

    This Maui-based nonprofit integrates medical care with traditional Hawaiian values, beliefs, and practices to improve the health status of Native Hawaiians. After the Maui wildfires, the organization has continued to provide Indigenous health care along with food access and distribution, WASH, hygiene products, and mental health support through its donation site.

    5. Maui Rapid Response / Maui Mutual Aid Fund

    This hyper-local disaster response team has continued providing resources in response to the fires. The mutual aid group is raising funds and distributing goods, prioritizing direct emergency assistance to vulnerable Native Hawaiians and their families. The fund has focused on communities living with disabilities, people who are low-income, and people with other vulnerabilities worsened by the fires. They have been able to provide food, WASH services, health care, and transportation.

    6. Aloha Diaper Bank

    This local Hawaiian-led organization works to ensure the well-being of Hawaii’s children by providing diaper assistance to families in need. That includes low-income families facing financial challenges and those experiencing homelessness and crisis situations. Since Aug. 10, the Aloha Diaper Bank’s team at the Maui Diaper Pantry has traveled from Lahaina to Kula to support families impacted by the wildfires. Through partnerships and donations, the bank has delivered hundreds of thousands of emergency supplies, including diapers, baby food, and formula.

    7. Ka Hale A Ke Ola Homeless Resource Centers

    Ka Hale A Ke Ola Homeless Resource Centers (KHAKO) organize shelters and vital services for the homeless and hungry on Maui. Life skills classes, community social service referrals, on-site primary care medical clinics, and facilities for childcare and preschool are provided through their shelters. KHAKO safely evacuated more than 200 individuals being served at their Lahaina shelter and rental units, transporting them to their Wailuku shelter for emergency housing. While their Lahaina shelter was lost in the fire, KHAKO is still working hard to serve the community by offering housing assistance and services to displaced families and individuals.

The Maui wildfires were one of the worst disasters to hit Hawaii since a tsunami in 1960 killed 61 people. Local nonprofits immediately connected and supported their communities through the crisis, even though their own staff, families, and neighborhoods were affected. It is estimated that it will cost $5.5 billion dollars to rebuild Lahaina, and as that long road to recovery begins, local organizations will still be there to ensure their communities receive the support they need.

Support community-led nonprofits responding to the Maui wildfires through GlobalGiving.


Featured Photo: USA Wildfires Response by Peace Winds America

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