Members of Lahaina church ward gather $150K in donations, fly supplies to West Maui

Aug 15, 2023, 7:46 AM

LAHAINA, Hawaii — Donations continue to pour into Maui from across the world, but getting those supplies to that part of the island has proved difficult.

“There is only one way in and out, and they closed the roads,” said Lahaina resident Ciera Leavitt.

Leavitt and her family are members of the Lahaina 1st Ward of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She said many of her ward members have been displaced by the fire and getting to those north of Lahaina is a challenge.

“Many of our friends’ houses are completely gone. In our church community itself, we’ve had 80 families who lost their homes,” she said. “They didn’t just lose their homes and things — they lost their livelihoods too.”

She and others in the ward are coming together to collect donations and deliver supplies to those who have lost everything.

“So far in the past four days we have reached $150,000 and so far we’ve probably only spent $40,000 or $50,000 of it,” she said.

The group was able to hook up with a local pilot to fly in supplies from Kahului, where the island’s main airport is, to West Maui each day.

“We’ve got tons of protein bars, beef jerky, and then things they really need are like formula and diapers,” Leavitt said.

(Photo courtesy: Ciera Leavitt)

She said the group even received a suitcase full of donated items from Utah. The needs for locals in shelters continue to change, according to Leavitt, who receives requests from displaced residents every day.

“I had to get over there pop-up tents, and we need cots for sleeping and ponchos and sunscreen,” she said.

Leavitt hopes the donations continue to pour in and hopes the world recognizes that rebuilding the Lahaina community will take years.

“This isn’t just going to be a quick fix, you know this is not a sprint. This is going to be a marathon, and it’s going to take a long time to build up Lahaina,” she said.

The group is documenting every trip they make on its Instagram profile. Their Venmo account is @Preston-Ciera-Leavitt.*

*KSL TV does not assure that the money deposited to the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries. If you are considering a deposit to the account, you should consult your own advisers and otherwise proceed at your own risk.

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Members of Lahaina church ward gather $150K in donations, fly supplies to West Maui