USA Wildfires Response

by Peace Winds America
USA Wildfires Response
USA Wildfires Response
USA Wildfires Response
USA Wildfires Response

Project Report | Apr 26, 2024
Providing Psychosocial Support with Local Partners

By Sarah Maraschky | Communications Associate

Rainbow in Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii
Rainbow in Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii

When a catastrophic wildfire devastated the historic town of Lahaina on the island of Maui last year, thousands of people were forced to gather their loved ones, quickly pack up their most important belongings, and evacuate their homes. Now, more than eight months later, wildfire survivors are still coping with the challenges of long-term recovery. Peace Winds is providing funding to help local organizations meet some of these ongoing needs.

Last Week, Peace Winds staff joined our local partner, Hospice Maui, as they concluded a program that provided professional development workshops on grief and trauma. Over the last several months, the workshops were available free of charge for individuals who have been working tirelessly to support fellow community members through peer counseling. Attendees included counselors, social workers, teachers, call center staff, hospital staff, and first responders. Workshops not only offer the tools that counselors need to provide trauma-informed care, but they also offer self-care opportunities for these staff and volunteers who are wildfire survivors themselves.

Although peer counselors are professionals with years of experience in grief care, this type of large-scale community trauma is a rare occurrence. On top of losing their homes, losing their loved ones, facing ongoing financial challenges, and losing a sense of safety, the emotional trauma caused by a natural disaster such as this remains fresh for survivors. They are working to maintain their own wellbeing while taking on the responsibility of helping others heal.

Many of Lahaina’s wildfire survivors are children. In addition to the stress many children are facing after being shuffled from shelter to shelter and school to school over the last eight months, they, too, are coping with the complex emotional toll that comes with experiencing a disaster of this scale.

To help address the psychosocial support needs of children and families, Peace Winds continues to work alongside Na Keiki O Emalia (NKOE), another Maui-based organization focused on grief care. The organization hosts support groups and community events with psychosocial support resources. NKOE distributes age-appropriate books to children so they can understand their situation, process their emotions in a healthy way, and seek support from adults if needed. NKOE has also set up Keiki (“children” in Hawaiian) Corners in community hubs where parents can leave their children while they get help accessing fire recovery resources. To make these activities possible, NKOE is providing facilitator trainings for staff and volunteers.

Although some of the vegetation in the burn area is recovering, and tourism on Maui is strong, the Lahaina community is in the very early stages of recovery. Housing remains one of the greatest needs for survivors. Strict requirements make it difficult for many people to receive aid from FEMA, and the cost of apartments and rental properties is out-of-reach for many local families. Some homeowners are even paying the mortgage on their destroyed homes while also having to pay for the temporary housing where they live now. Other needs for the Lahaina community include baby items and pet supplies, legal counseling and case management, and direct financial assistance.

Peace Winds teams are actively working to determine the best approach to help meet these needs as recovery progresses in the weeks and months ahead. We will continue to work with our local partners who are prioritizing culturally sensitive aid activities.

If you would like to make a donation to Peace Winds’ activities in Maui, please visit our GlobalGiving page at the link below. We appreciate your continued support.

Memorial in Lahaina
Memorial in Lahaina
Hawaiian flags at Lahaina memorial
Hawaiian flags at Lahaina memorial
Burn area in Lahaina
Burn area in Lahaina
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook

Dec 29, 2023
Meeting the Needs of Rescue Animals in Maui

By Sarah Maraschky | Communications Associate

Sep 4, 2023
Peace Winds Teams Continue Work in Hawaii

By Wayne Nissly | CEO

About Project Reports

Project reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.

If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you can recieve an email when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports without donating.

Sign up for updates

Organization Information

Peace Winds America

Location: Washington, DC - USA
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @PWAmerica
Project Leader:
Wayne Nissly
Washington , DC United States

Learn more about GlobalGiving

Teenage Science Students
Vetting +
Due Diligence


Woman Holding a Gift Card
Gift Cards

Young Girl with a Bicycle

Get incredible stories, promotions, and matching offers in your inbox

WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.