Help for Maui


  • This list is obviously not comprehensive, and may well change in the days and weeks ahead. I encourage you to check back for updates.
  • If you are aware of additional sites you believe should be included, please shoot me an email at It will be helpful if you can provide links and a brief note about why it should be considered for inclusion.
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  • World Central Kitchen is on the ground on Maui and the Big Island, coordinating with local food organizations to provide meals, ice, and other support to firefighters and displaced people. They have a 100% rating from Charity Navigator.
  • Catholic Charities Hawai’i also gets a 100% rating from Charity Navigator and reports from people on the ground say they are indeed stepping up to deliver food, water, and shelter to those in need without regard to faith or culture.
  • The Maui Food Bank enjoys a 99% Charity Navigator score and has a well established track record of working toward their goal of ensuring no one is Maui County goes hungry. They have, of course, stepped up to throw everything they can into caring for the thousands of displaced residents of West Maui and Upcountry.
  • The Maui Strong Fund, under the umbrella of the Hawai’I Community Foundation (93% Charity Navigator rating) is focused strictly on collecting financial donations (they don’t accept material goods of any sort or other in kind donations) and partnering with smaller local non-profits to quickly distribute those funds to support specific needs. They are committed to taking NO administrative or pass through fees for these donations.
  • East Maui Animal Refuge (95% Charity Navigator rating), perhaps better known as “The Boo Boo Zoo,” has long been respected in recue circles as a committed and compassionate organization. In the wake of the fires, countless pets—some seriously burned or injured, others just separated from their humans and lost, hungry and afraid—are in need of help. The scope of the need is on a scale beyond anything the Boo Boo Zoo has ever had to accommodate before, and they can use your support.
  • The Maui Humane Society (an independent non-profit not affiliated with the HSUS, ASPCA, or any other organization), scored at 97% by Charity Navigator, is also working to take in all animals presented to it, support them in any way needed, and make every effort to locate and reunite them with their humans.

About ‘GoFundMe’ Pages

The GoFundMe ecosystem has established itself in recent years as a quick, easy to use way for people to seek donations for any number of reasons. As such, hundreds of fundraisers have sprung up on the site over the past few days.

To their credit, GFM administrators do their best to rigorously enforce terms of service and quickly take down pages not in compliance. That said, scammers who are good storytellers continue to put pages up as fast as GFM can take ’em down. Thus, I strongly urge people to know who they are contributing to and why before acting just on a heartfelt impulse.

The GoFundMe campaigns listed here are ones I feel comfortable in personally recommending to your attention.

  • George Kahumoku Jr is an internationally renowned, multiple Grammy winning musician and committed keeper of Hawai’ian traditions and culture. For a number of years, with the able administrative assistance of his wife Nancy, “Uncle George” has organized, performed and taught at a series of slack key shows and workshops on West Maui. Mercifully, George and Nancy’s home and farm was spared the fires, but several members of his slack key ohana did not fare as well. More details are on their GoFundMe page.
  • Many in the recovery community are familiar with Alano Clubs. These are private establishments, often registered non-profits, that are established to offer “safe space” for clean and sober gathering and socializing, usually in support of 12 Step groups and members. Lahaina town’s long-established clubhouse has been a refuge for residents and visitors alike. The building was completely consumed by fire. Their Board President has launched a GoFundMe to support rebuilding.
  • The summary on the GFM site tells the story of JJ Jerome, and his heroic efforts to help others even as fire consumed all he owned. This came to me via my sister, who lives in Melbourne, Australia. She reports the organizer of the fundraiser is an old high school mate of hers, and a person of integrity.

Farewell, Mary Kelly

I want to say a little about a woman I counted as a dear friend, Mary Kelly, of Scotts Valley, California, formerly of Ben Lomond in the San Lorenzo Valley. Mary took her leave of this world on 11 August 2023. According to her family, she was able to die at home, having finished her dance with ovarian cancer.

At least in part due to my own long dance, I of course take it personally every damned time cancer punches someone’s ticket. But that’s far from the most important thing I need to say about what Mary has meant to me.

It was in September of 1981 that I first found myself in the rooms of recovery, taking that last available shot at doing something other than drinking myself to death. And Mary was one of the people who warmly welcomed me. She did all she could to make this fairly desperate, marginal character who had emerged from the hills with long, stringy hair, cutoff Levi’s, a chainsaw and a dog understand that there was acceptance, understanding, and support on offer. That he was no longer alone and lost.

We came from radically different lives. She’d been raised a Good Irish Catholic Girl, married a handsome and charismatic Irish-American fella, and done her damnedest to fulfill the wife-mother-homemaker role(s).

I was a hippie kid from the Bay Area who had somehow followed his addictions through the music business into the bar business, eventually washing up on the shoulder of a ridge in the Santa Cruz Mountains telling myself lies until I couldn’t any more about my forthcoming career as a freelance writer.

None of that matters here except to illustrate that when we met I presented a lot more like someone she would cross the street to avoid than a man she would befriend and encourage. But that’s what she did.

It’s a common practice for many folks in recovery to do that; to reach out and support new folks just trying to find their way to a stable life. And I found more than a few people who offered me acceptance without judgement before I even understood how to live my life without alcohol and drugs.

I am grateful to each and every one of them. I owe them my life. Over the years, I’ve lost contact with many of those who were there early days. Many have moved away due to life changes, by now a lot have died.

And that was one of my first thoughts when I heard the news yesterday. Mary was one of  the last of that community that was there for me when I was ready to change my life. So many are gone now. But with Mary Kelly, it’s more than that. We weren’t “close” in a traditional sense. Didn’t see each other often.

But we would periodically run into one another, whether it was at a a celebratory gathering for a holiday, or mutual friend’s birthday, or something as mundane as a chance meeting in the grocery store. And always, every time, Mary made it clear she was genuinely glad to see me and interesting in how I was doing. That was reciprocated from me. Didn’t have to think about it. My day was just made brighter by her presence.

Now, here’s the thing. That doesn’t make me any kind of “special.” I’d be willing to bet just about everyone who knew Mary will tell you the same. As another friend describes it, she was one who “open carries her heart.” You’d be hard pressed to find anyone who knew Mary who did not love her.

I loved her. No, strike that. I LOVE her. My world is a little less bright tonight because Mary Kelly is no longer part of it.

Farewell, sister. I wish you fair winds and following seas on your journey. I will look for you in the stars, in the mountains, in the sea.
And save me a seat, won’t you?