HONOLULU (KHON2) — Families who survived the Maui wildfires nearly two months ago are still taking things day by day, and they are trying to figure out long-term housing options. The holidays might not be top of mind, but a social media page is playing a part in giving back, and not just necessities, but also items for the keiki to bring them a sense of normalcy.
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From cars to generators and household items, the ‘Adopt a Family Maui’ Facebook page has helped dozens of families get essential items they lost in the fires.
Avau Leilua is one of the social media page’s administrators, she said she wanted to find a way to help those who were displaced by the fires. She started the Facebook page as a way to connect those in need with people who wanted to help.
Leilua said, “It’s one less thing for the displaced families to worry about, I know they are going through so much.”
With the holidays quickly approaching, Leilua knows Halloween costumes for keiki would not be a priority for families. She started asking parents to create and share a list of items as well as costumes their children would want for Halloween.
People from around the world responded to the call, and a couple of hundred costumes have already arrived at her home.
Leilua said, “And we’re going to dress up actually, we’re going to dress up and we’re going to deliver these costumes and we’re going to have a blast I just can’t wait to see smiles on the keiki’s faces.”
Ikaika Neizman and his family have been on the receiving end of this community initiative. Neizman is a firefighter who lost his family’s home in Lahaina going back generations.
He said it has been tough to think too far ahead, such as Christmas time, but it has been a blessing to have a community on Maui as well as online that is looking after his family and many others.
Neizman said, “We parents, we don’t care too much about ourselves, but about my daughter and all the keikis out, how they’re going to enjoy it and forget about things, a normal Christmas I guess.”
Leilua was raised in Lahaina, and many of the people she posts about on social media are friends and kupuna she grew up with. She is thankful she can do her part to help, but it is still a bitter feeling to know they are reconnecting under such circumstances.
For now, the ‘Adopt a Family Maui’ will continue to share information about families in need of support, and aid for them will be needed for the foreseeable future.
Click here if you wish to learn more about how to support families impacted by the Maui fires.
“Just to bring some ease to everyone’s minds, everyone is vetted before they are posted on the page,” Leilua said, “We promote a lot of the Amazon wish list, families are using their friends or family’s addresses to receive the items.”