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Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints donates $1M to Red Cross for Maui wildfire relief

Aug 21, 2023, 10:15 AM | Updated: 10:19 am

In an aerial view, burned cars and homes are seen a neighborhood that was destroyed by a wildfire o...

In an aerial view, burned cars and homes are seen a neighborhood that was destroyed by a wildfire on August 17, 2023 in Lahaina, Hawaii. At least 111 people were killed and thousands were displaced after a wind driven wildfire devastated the towns of Lahaina and Kula early last week. Crews are continuing to search for missing people. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

LAHAINA, Hawaii — The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has donated $1 million to the American Red Cross to help with relief efforts after wildfires devastated communities across Maui.

Bishop W. Christopher Waddell, first counselor in the Presiding Bishopric, announced the donation and met with Red Cross representatives on Sunday.

“The Church’s partnership with the Red Cross is so valuable. It reaches so many people and helps so many people who are suffering, and the Church’s donation helps alleviate that human suffering,” said Brad Kieserman, vice president of disaster operations and logistics with the Red Cross.

The donation will support the Red Cross’s efforts to provide:

  • Shelter to survivors
  • Meals, bedding, hygiene kits
  • Medical, mental health and family unification services

Brad Kieserman, vice president, disaster operations and logistics with American Red Cross, speaks with Bishop W. Christopher Waddell, first counselor in the Presiding Bishopric, in Lahaina, Hawaii, Sunday, Aug. 20, 2023. (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints)

Over the weekend, Bishop Waddell and local Church leaders met with many community organizations that are providing aid on Maui. They also showed Hawaii Gov. Josh Green the evacuation site and shelter on the grounds of a church meetinghouse in Kahului.

“What you are doing is extraordinary for the people of Maui,” Green said. “We need everyone together. I think this kind of crisis brings people together. The sense of loss is there. There are people feeling desperation. They feel their lives if they weren’t lost in the fire may be lost in other ways. You will lift them up.”

Elder Mark A. Bragg visits with Latter-day Saints during his visit to Maui after deadly wildfires on the Hawaiian island of Maui, Aug. 18, 2023. (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints)

Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, told the Associated Press that about 85% of the affected area had been searched and nearly 2,000 people remained without power and 10,000 were without telecom connectivity as of Sunday. Water in parts of west Maui is not safe to drink.

President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden are traveling to Maui to comfort survivors of the devastating wildfires. They will land in Hawaii Monday afternoon.

“I know how profoundly loss can impact a family and a community and I know nothing can replace the loss of life,” Biden said in a statement ahead of the trip. “I will do everything in my power to help Maui recover and rebuild from this tragedy. And throughout our efforts, we are focused on respecting sacred lands, cultures, and traditions.”

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Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints donates $1M to Red Cross for Maui wildfire relief