How to help Maui wildfire victims from afar

 

Volunteers load water onto a boat to be transported to West Maui from the Kihei boat landing on Aug. 13, 2023 in Kihei, Hawaii. / Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

St. Louis, Mo., Aug 21, 2023 / 15:45 pm (CNA).

The devastating wildfires on the Hawaiian island of Maui earlier this month continue to cause misery for the island’s residents.

As of Monday morning, more than 1,200 formerly missing people have been located, with about 850 still missing, the county mayor said. So far there are 114 confirmed deaths, many of the bodies still unidentified, with the figure expected to rise. President Joe Biden will visit the island Monday to survey the damage.

Pope Francis has expressed his sadness and solidarity with all who are suffering due to the destruction caused by the wildfires, which have destroyed hundreds of buildings.

Here’s how you can help:

Catholic Charities Hawai’i

Catholic Charities Hawai’i is working in partnership with Catholic Charities USA to help those affected by the fires. The organization’s Maui office reopened Monday after being shut for nearly two weeks. The organization is collecting donations specifically for Maui relief.

Robert van Tassell, the president and CEO of Catholic Charities Hawai’i, told CNA that the effect of the disastrous fire on the Hawaiian community has been “very dramatic.” As of last week, CCH was working on establishing temporary housing, providing people with everyday essential needs, financial assistance, counseling, and offering help in rebuilding homes.

Van Tassell said ample amounts of food and water are flowing into the island but emphasized the need for ongoing cash donations, 100% of which, he said, would go to people in need. He referred those who wish to give to the donation form for Maui relief at the Catholic Charities website, www.CatholicCharitiesHawaii.org.

Hawaii Catholic Community Foundation

Honolulu Bishop Larry Silva visited the historic resort town of Lahaina last week to celebrate Mass and meet survivors of the wildfires that he said “shockingly devastated” the town. He urged visitors to the diocesan website to donate to the Hawaii Catholic Community Foundation (HCCF) to “support the relief efforts for our fellow community members affected by the Maui wildfires.”

The HCCF is a nonprofit corporation established by the diocese that aims to support parish and school communities. HCCF will process and distribute the donations to support Maui wildfires relief and recovery and rebuild efforts, the organization’s website says.

Maria Lanakila Catholic Church

The Catholic church in the town of Lahaina was spared any serious damage, in contrast to the rest of the town, which was virtually wiped off the map. Maria Lanakila Parish also administers Sacred Hearts Mission Church, located 25 minutes north of Lahaina.

The parish said on Facebook on Sunday that it had set up a relief center at the mission church with two dedicated phone lines. The parish is accepting financial donations.

“Please call if you or someone you know needs food or supplies. (808) 520-3877 and (808) 520-3871,” the Aug. 20 post reads.

On Wednesday, the parish said the local Knights of Columbus council was spearheading the relief distribution at Sacred Hearts Mission Church.

CNA was unable to reach the local Knights council for further information.

The parish last week also shared a link where people can donate to Maui United Way, which says it is offering emergency financial assistance by means of prepaid Visa cards, PayPal, Venmo, or direct deposit to personal bank accounts.


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