Devastating wildfires on the Hawaiian island of Maui have left tens of thousands of people in limbo, not knowing what’s happened to their homes or even if their loved ones survived the flames.

As of Thursday morning, at least 36 people have died, with dozens more injured. More than 271 structures have been damaged or destroyed, and 11,000 people have been evacuated out of Lahaina, the historic town ravaged by the wildfires.

Federal units have been helping in search and rescue efforts, and shelters have opened to help those still on the island, while mass evacuations continue. 

Though President Joe Biden approved an emergency declaration Thursday to make federal resources more readily available, other groups are making efforts to help those affected. 

Here are organizations offering assistance and how you can join in on the relief.


Multiple organizations have set up relief funds or fundraising campaigns to get resources directly to the Hawaiian communities affected by the wildfires.

Local to Hawaii, the governor’s office has directed those willing to donate to the Hawaii Community Foundation, which has set up the Maui Strong Fund to “provide flexible, quickly deployed resources” to residents. Aloha United Way, a Honolulu-based nonprofit, also has a Maui Relief Fund with direct links to fire victims.

New Life Kahuku set up the Aid Lahaina fund to help supply resources like food to residents.

Besides funds, locals can drop physical donations to the Maui Food Bank, and the Maui Mutual Aid Fund has been creating “needs lists” of item donations it will give to survivors. 

Larger organizations are also laying out ways to donate.

The American Red Cross is accepting donations through its Disaster Relief Fund on its website or by calling its hotline, 1-800-RED-CROSS, as is The Salvation Army on its Hawaii website.

GlobalGiving set up a Hawaii Wildfire Relief Fund to first help first responders meet the needs of survivors, then it will give the donations to longer-term recovery efforts.

There are also tons of GoFundMe campaigns for the cause. The website has set up a hub page listing all its verified fundraisers to help ensure donations are going to the right place.

SEE MORE: Maui wildfire leaves 36 dead, hundreds of buildings destroyed


The American Red Cross has put disaster teams on the ground in Maui, helping both in shelter assistance and in rescue efforts. It’s asking people who have already evacuated not to return until officials say it’s safe to do so.

But residents and tourists still there needing shelter can visit its website, call its hotline at 1-800-RED-CROSS or download the Red Cross Emergency app to find one. Others who want to help in local shelters can click here to volunteer

There are also shelters open through Maui’s Emergency Management Agency. These include Mayor Hannibal Tavares Community Center, Maui Prep Academy, the Maui High School gym and the War Memorial Gym.

Lost people or pets

Many still don’t know how to reach loved ones, as power-lines have been affected by the natural disaster.

Americans can help reconnect missing loved ones through the Red Cross’ Emergency Welfare Inquiry or by using its hotline. Those in the U.S. trying to reach someone can open an Emergency Welfare Inquiry using the hotline as well. 

Those in Maui can also let others know they’re okay in the organization’s Emergency app by marking themselves as, “I’m safe.”

But it’s not just humans that have lost their homes; those humans’ pets don’t know where to go either.

The Maui Humane Society is in immediate, urgent need of foster homes for its high population of lost and found pets, with adoption appointments no longer necessary to help. You can also file a lost or found pet report on its website.

The humane society also has a Facebook group where anyone can post anything pet related amid the Maui fires. So far, there have been postings to rehome animals whose homes were lost, foster home offers, lost dog postings and more.

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