PRESS RELEASE December 4, 2023 Lahaina, HI
People for Educational Equality becomes the fiscal sponsor for the Maui Keiki Fire Relief Fund
Shortly after the devastating Lahaina fire, several real estate agents from the Aloha Group Maui team with Keller Williams Realty Maui set up a GoFundMe campaign, with the purpose of helping as many keiki (children) as possible, to get through the trauma of losing family, friends, homes and even their school. The program was named the Maui Keiki Fire Relief Fund, and it is designed to distribute funds every month to 100+ children and their families through the end of the 2023-2024 school year. The group wants to provide the peace of mind that these children will not be forgotten, so that they may focus on their physical and emotional recovery and what they do best – just being kids! The group has tirelessly worked with schools, counselors and people they know to identify those children and families most in need and then verify each family in person.
So far, the program has raised over $23,000, and it has identified over 34 children whose parents or guardians have already started receiving monthly distributions. 17% of the recipients have lost an immediate family member or a close friend, 86% lost their home, 36% lost a vehicle or means of transportation, 42% lost their school. Many of the children come from generational families that lost everything: homes, cars, jobs.
In order to expand the fundraising efforts, the group has now partnered with People for Educational Equality (PFEE), a Lahaina based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that has supported and fundraised for the Lahaina Complex After School Tutoring Project for 15 years. Barbara Potts is one of the founders and also the president of PFEE, and along with her husband Lee, son Skip and daughter in law Jessica, has dedicated her volunteer efforts to create educational opportunities for Lahaina kids that attend public schools. When the tutoring program ended due to Covid restrictions, this nonprofit pivoted towards sponsoring and providing grants for science camps, drama camps and hula classes. The most recent educational event was the Book Give Away, hosted at the Outlets of Maui during Spring Break 2023, when over 80 children were given free books, school supplies and gift cards, and they were entertained by fellow kids and Tutu Cheryl reading stories to them.
By becoming the fiscal sponsor for the Maui Keiki Fire Relief Fund, PFEE will continue its mission of helping local children.
A Facebook Group was created in order to share updates, stories of impact, and the outcomes of these collective efforts. If you would like to contribute, please visit the Maui Keiki Fire Relief Fund or send a check to People for Educational Equality, 1215 S Kihei Rd, Suite O#333. Kihei, HI 96753.