Doubtless you know the sad news from Maui. The phrase utter devastation has been overused to breaking. But that’s pretty much it: Utter devastation -- and devastating heartbreak.
Most of the world knows Lahaina Town as a quaint, delightful tourist mecca. But Lahaina was home for over 12,000 Kama'aina, many of whom worked as backbone for the “hospitality” (tourist) industry. It was also once the capital of the Hawaiian Kingdom, and has been witness to — and survivor of — wave upon wave of quasi-colonial stressors relentlessly seeking to extract, not plant: to earn, not invest. In many ways, Lahaina holds the historical, cultural Braveheart of Aloha.
With the exception of over 100 lost souls (and counting), Lahaina’s amazing people are still here. But everything else is leveled: businesses, cultural and historical artifacts, homes, too many beloved pets — now nothing but ash.
Upcountry also suffered grievous losses in the (relatively) smaller wildfires during the same period. Although the rest of the island — including the Becker burg — was physically untouched, the ripples of dislocation and disruption (along with waves of grief, confusion, and anger) have quickly engulfed us all.
Anyone who's moved to help can visit MauiNuiStrong for some ideas. From my local vantage point, emergency and short-term goods and supplies appear well stocked, thanks to the generosity of all. But now the real work begins: clean-up: rebuilding: somehow reconstituting a new Lahaina while fending off the vultures.
With that in mind, you might especially consider local, grassroots groups who, long after the alphabet agencies decamp, will be on the front lines for the long haul. The Maui United Way (not the National United Way!) and Boots on the Ground are but two of many for your consideration.