Bay Area pours money into Hawaii relief effort

As rescue and recovery efforts continue on the Hawaiian Island of Maui, millions of dollars in donations are now pouring into the state, from across the world and here in the Bay Area. 

The largest effort right now in the Bay Area is being spearheaded by several San Francisco tourism organizations.

"We are doing our best to give relief, send good energy, send good love to our friends in Maui," said Rodney Fong, president of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce. "Dollars will go to relief efforts which I’m sure are much needed right now."

Other organizations collaborating on the effort include The San Francisco Travel Association, Golden Gate Restaurant Association, Hotel Council of San Francisco, and Union Square Alliance. As part of that push, large screens at this weekend’s Outside Lands festival urged the crowd to donate online through the Hawaii-based Maui Strong Fund.  

"We really appreciate any donations large and small. Right now Maui really needs it. It’s really devastating what we’re seeing. The images are really hard to look at," said Sheila Sarhangi of the Maui Strong Fund. "We know so many people who are missing right now, or their homes are just ashes right now."

To date, the fund has raised $17 million. That money is being put to immediate use right now.


"It's being used for things like critical supplies, food, diverse shelter, clothing, showers, first aid, animal care, grief support, and even boat support for some local boat owners who are taking supplies from one side of the island and bringing them into Lahaina for residents," said Sarhangi.

Bay Area-born band Metallica is among those who have made a large donation to Maui Strong, sending $200,000 their way. A number of other non-profits are also aiding in the effort on the ground. 

The Salvation Army has been flying in staff from San Francisco and across the state.

"Our people immediately jumped into action and started providing assistance to individuals who are now without homes and also needing food," said John Brackenbury of the Salvation Army. "The Salvation Army is actively involved in feeding over 7,200 meals a day at the Red Cross shelters and other shelters throughout the island."

Some staff members based on the island have also lost homes lost, and some Salvation Army facilities have burned to the ground.  

"We’ve lost our administrative building, our church, thrift stores, and even the salvation army staff quarters," said Brackenbury.

Back in the Bay Area, large and small fundraising events, have also been popping up. A comedy event at Faction Brewing, organized by Alameda Comedy Works, was turned into a fundraiser for the family of one of its performers, and others in Maui who lost everything.

"For a lot of the eyes to be on not just that community, but specifically my family, is, I can’t even put it into words. I’m just really grateful," said comedian Chris Posadas.