Nearly one month after ravenous wildfires swept through the Hawaiian island of Maui, families, and individuals impacted by the natural disaster are still in need of extensive support. Over 100 people have died from the fires, hundreds remain missing or unaccounted for, and thousands more have been displaced. The People’s Fund of Maui, launched by Oprah Winfrey and Dwayne Johnson with an initial donation of $10 million, aims to provide support for many of these affected residents.
“I have been meeting with people throughout the community that were impacted by the fires over the last few weeks, asking what they most needed and how I could be of service,” Winfrey shared in a statement. “The main thing I’ve been hearing is their concern about how to move forward under the immense financial burden. The community has come together in so many wonderful ways, and my intention is to support those impacted as they determine what rebuilding looks like for them.”
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The fund will provide direct relief to individuals who are over the age of 18 and reside in Lahaina and Kula. The cash distribution will arrive in the form of $1,200 monthly payments. “We are beyond grateful to be working alongside esteemed community leaders of Maui to launch the People’s Fund of Maui,” Johnson shared in a statement. “These leaders are offering their guidance to ensure our fund can put money directly in the hands of those individuals most affected.”
He added: “To all who have already offered your help, thank you for your support and for those wanting to help now, your prayers and resources are a welcome assistance for those displaced within the Maui community. I also want to offer my profound gratitude to all the first responders, local organizations and every individual who has worked tirelessly on the ground responding to this crisis.”
Elders, leaders, and residents within the community contributed to the creation of the fund, including Jason Momoa, Hōkūlani Holt-Padilla, Keali’i Reichel, Brian Keaulana, Kaimi Kaneholani, Henohea Kāne, Paele Kiakona, Ed Suwanjindar, and more.
“As people around the world watched the catastrophic loss and devastation caused by the Maui wildfires, they also witnessed the great spirit and resilience of our Polynesian culture and the tremendous strength of the people of Maui,” Johnson continued. “Even in the most difficult of times, the people of Maui come together, and we rise—that’s what makes us stronger.”