Red Cross volunteers from Utah heading to help Maui fire relief efforts
Aug 11, 2023, 1:45 PM
SALT LAKE CITY — Utah’s chapter of the American Red Cross is helping with fire relief efforts on Maui.
KSL’s Tamara Vaifanua spoke with volunteers about their mission and what they’re focusing on specifically. Later today, the first volunteers from the Beehive State will be heading to Hawaii.
They’ll be deployed for at least three weeks. A typical assignment lasts two weeks – so this is an indication of the grueling work ahead of them to help people recover from the devastating wildfires.
With the death toll climbing to at least 55 on Friday, officials estimate thousands will need housing.
Volunteers will devote their time to providing food, shelter, medicine and mental health services.
Heidi Ruster, CEO of the Utah-Nevada chapter of the American Red Cross, said more Utah volunteers will be deployed as they assess needs in the coming days.
“It’s an emotional roller coaster that they’re going through and we’re there to help just get their basic needs taken care of now and then work with our partners like FEMA, Salvation Army and others to figure out what do they need right now to be able to get to the point of stability,” Ruster said.
Ruster added they have received an outpouring of support from the community through volunteering, blood donations, and supplies.
She said what’s really valuable at this time is money donations because it’s challenging to send supplies to Hawaii right now.
KSL TV is joining fundraising efforts for the “Maui Strong: Fire Relief Fund” to help those devastated by wildfires in Hawaii, through the Hawaii Community Foundation.
To help start Maui Strong, those efforts include a $15,000 donation from KSL TV parent company Bonneville International and 100% of the money we receive will go directly to help the people in Maui.