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Thursday BP: How to help survivors of the Maui fires

It’s been a little over a week since devastating fires ripped through portions of Maui, and the survivors need our help now more than ever.

Photo by YUKI IWAMURA/AFP via Getty Images

Good morning, baseball fans.

Today is an off day for the San Francisco Giants, so I thought we’d take a look at a situation that is affecting an area that is home to quite a few of our fellow Giants fans. A little over a week ago, devastating wild fires ripped through the island of Maui in Hawaii. In the week since, there are still hundreds of people missing and over a hundred people now reported as dead. In addition to thousands left displaced, who have lost everything.

Residents of Lahaina, specifically, report receiving no warning or evacuation orders, with the 911 system reportedly also going down, and struggled to get out on the town’s few exit routes, with many forced to flee into the ocean to survive the fast moving inferno. It is feared that the number of dead will increase substantially as the days go on due to the mismanagement of the warning systems available to officials that were ultimately not used.

Many native Hawaiians as well as local residents have taken to social media to express their frustration with how things have been managed by authorities in the aftermath. In such an isolated location, bureaucratic delays are especially costly, given the difficulty of obtaining resources even in good times, and people are in a heightened need for help.

So I wanted to take a little time here to do something we’ve done in the past for those affected by fires here in California as well and discuss how we can help, as requested by those in need.

First and foremost, if you’ve got a trip to Maui scheduled, consider rescheduling or canceling altogether. Or if you can, donate the accommodations to survivors who could use a place to stay, especially with fairly impactful storms potentially heading their way over the coming days.

I know in times of disaster people often want to donate to the Red Cross, and while I will not discourage people from doing so if that’s what they choose, it’s been my experience that donations would be better served on local organizations that will provide long term support once the national aid groups are gone, which is usually a lot sooner than people expect.

Additionally, helping locally in this case is highly advisable, as many people will be targeted to sell their land for a fraction of what it’s worth to developers who will seek to profit off of this disaster. Supporting native Hawaiians is crucial to helping them keep their land and heritage, as well as rebuilding their communities.

In this case, per recommendations from native Hawaiians and local residents, I would recommend donating to the Hawaii Community Foundation’s Maui Strong Fund.

If you’re looking to help on a more personal level, Go Fund Me has a list of verified fundraisers for families in need of support.

The Instagram account @lahaina_ohana_venmo has collected stories and photos from hundreds of families in need of support with easy to access ways to donate to their Venmo accounts. Normally, I’d be a little skeptical of something like this, however with cell phone service and internet access still unreliable at best in the affected areas, it’s understandable that many people might not have the ability to go through a traditional fundraising website.

You can also donate to local organizations who could use some support helping get people through the recovery, such as the Maui Food Bank or the Hawaiian Food Bank, as well as the Maui Humane Society.

Thank you all, and we send all of our love to everyone affected by these horrific fires. And as always, if anyone in our community is in need of direct assistance, please reach out to me directly and we will rally for you.

What time do the Giants play today?

They do not. Instead, they will be heading to Georgia, to take on the Atlanta Braves for the first of two series between the two teams over the next week and a half. With the way things have been going lately, well, that should be so much fun.