Wildfire wreckage is shown Thursday, Aug. 10, 2023, in Lahaina, Hawaii. The search of the wildfire wreckage on the Hawaiian island of Maui on Thursday revealed a wasteland of burned out homes and obliterated communities as firefighters battled the stubborn blaze making it the deadliest in the U.S. in recent years.
AP Photo/Rick Bowmer
The devastating, deadly wildfires in Maui have shocked New Yorkers, and compelled many of them to do what they can from afar to help the victims.
A number of New Yorkers have joined their fellow Americans in starting fundraisers on GoFundMe — all of which have been verified by GoFundMe’s Trust & Safety Team — to help Maui rebuild and recover from the wildfires that have already seen at least 100 people perish.
More than $22 million has already been raised on GoFundMe to support the families, businesses, and communities impacted in Hawaii. Of that, New Yorkers across the state have donated nearly $700,000.
Here are Maui wildfire fundraisers created by New Yorkers to help their loved ones in Hawaii, followed by descriptions from each donation page.
Alex and Melanie Hoffman created this fundraiser for their family friends, Jim and Jessica Davis, who they wrote had just purchased their first home in Lahaina and were enjoying life as a new family of four with their daughters, three-year-old Izzy and three-month-old Abigail. The Hoffmans wrote that, “their house and everything they owned was lost to the devastating Maui wildfire that destroyed the historic town of Lahaina in a matter of a few hours.”
Mikaela Gauer and Andrew Raak co-organized a fundraiser for residents living in Lahaina who have lost their homes and businesses and were forced to evacuate due to the raging wildfires. According to both, all money donated will go directly to Raak to distribute in the community as needed. Raak is on the ground in Kihei, in southwest Maui, working with local organizations to purchase supplies and necessary items for the community. The fundraiser is raising money to purchase high-priority, essential items including: gas, propane, ice, water, batteries, flashlights, and RTE food.
Started by the Wayne Dyer Family Foundation, this fundraiser aims to help the people of Lahaina and West Maui, which the family described as “a part of the Dyer, Cain, Barnes and numerous other families’ lives for over 40 years.” The family shared the childhood memory of enjoying the streets of Lahaina and the beaches of Kaanapali. Dr. Wayne Dyer has lived in the community for the last 15 years of his life. According to the fundraiser, the Wayne Dyer Family Foundation will be matching up to $50,000 in donations. The Barnes family’s foundation (The Sambar Foundation) has also committed to match up to $50,000 to organizations and families affected by the fires.
On behalf of Kristina Rau and Sterling Seaton, this fundraiser was set up to support the couple, who lost their pet cat Optimus, home, and car. Rau and Seaton, as well as their dog, survived the disaster, but were left without jobs. The fundraiser organizer, Samantha Isom, said that donations “would greatly assist them as they look for a new place to live and secure employment.”
Jessica Guilfoyle is fundraising for her friend, Gio, who “just lost everything in the Maui wildfires,” including her home and most of her possessions. Guilfoyle described Gio as “one of the kindest, warmest, most generous people you’ll ever meet.” Because Gio has a difficult time asking for help of any kind, Guilfoyle created the fundraiser to help Gio get back on her feet after her devastating losses.
James Peterson started this campaign to support his cousin Alicia, who “has faced unimaginable loss and hardship due to the recent wildfires.” Peterson wrote that Alicia’s home, possessions, and job were all consumed by the flames, leaving her with only her guitar, her truck, and her incredible courage. The businesses Alicia performed at and worked for were also decimated. The funds raised from this campaign “will directly assist Alicia as she faces the immense task of rebuilding her life,” including securing housing, replacing essential belongings, and providing financial support following the loss of her income.
Julian Business Man, the name of the organizer, is raising money for his friend Ryan, who lost his home on Maui in the wildfires. The organizer wrote that he had met Ryan on vacation in February and the two became friends. Ryan’s uncle is reportedly missing after he went back to his house and tried to save it. Ryan’s family lost everything they owned and worked their whole life to build. The money will be divided between Ryan, Maui United Way, and the Maui Humane Society. Specifically, a third of the proceeds will go to Ryan, a third to Maui United Way, and a third to the Maui Humane Society to help animals that fled the fires and need to return home or find new homes.
Many of you have heard of the devastating fire that leveled the town of Lahaina on West Maui. I lived there for 8 years and have many friends and the many families that lost everything. I am raising these funds to distribute equally amongst them personally to assist in their recovery or an unfortunate temporary move away from this disaster. Anything helps. Please reach out if you have any more questions. This is devastating and my heart and prayers go out to all of those affected.
Ethan Silver started this fundraiser to support his brother, Gabe, who Silver wrote has been uprooted by the wildfires. Gabe lost his job and his neighborhood in the fires and anything “will help this transitional time.”
Matthew Lacey is organizing donations to benefit the Hawaii Community Foundation, in lieu of gifts for a friend’s birthday. Lacey’s friend’s sister is working with a local contact who can distribute the money to locals to use for gas, food, water, and other emergencies, according to Lacey.