How to help those affected by devastating Maui fire

Fires on the Hawaiian island of Maui ripped through the town of Lahaina, decimating the buildings, cultural centers and taking the lives of 96 people. 

The fires were quick and fueled by strong, hurricane winds and forced many people to jump into the ocean to save themselves. It burned buildings that have stood since the 1700s and even a beloved Banyan tree.

In the wake of the devastating fire, here are some organizations that have begun collecting donations to help the survivors and rebuilding effort.

  • Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement: The CNHA is working in partnership with the Alakaʻina Foundation Family of Companies and Kākoʻo Haleakalā, to match up to $100,000 in donations. The assistance will go to families and businesses in Lahaina. Click here to donate.
  • Maui Humane Society: The fires devastated the community and left many pets homeless. You can donate funds to help with pet supplies and other critical items for animals. For more information, click here.
  • Maui Food Bank: The food bank is accepting donations to help people and families who have lost everything. To donate online, click here.
  • The Salvation Army: The Salvation Army is also providing food and resources to residents affected by the Hawaii wildfires. Click here to donate.
  • American Red Cross of Hawaii: The Red Cross is providing shelter and other resources to those displaced by the fires. The Red Cross has five shelters currently open in Lahaina, which is currently serving over 2,000 people, the organization stated. To donate, click here.
  • Hawai‘i Community Foundation Maui Strong Fund: This funds supports disaster preparedness, response, and recovery for affected communities. To donate online, click here.
  • Maui United Way: The United Way supports families and nonprofits affected by the fires. Click here to donate.

In light of the devastating fires, the Better Business Bureau issued a scam warning and advised potential donors to be vigilant when it comes to parting with their money. 

"After a disaster or very public tragedy, such as the recent Maui fires this week, people want to help in any way possible, often contributing to fundraisers to help the survivors and the victims' families. Sadly, scammers often take advantage of these moments of vulnerability to deceive donors," the BBB warned on Thursday.

The BBB said to look out for "100% claims," newly established organizations, fake celebrity fundraisers and crowdfunding posts that lack details. The organization said to look for charities registered with government agencies and ones that offer financial transparency.