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.
Aloha! It’s been more than 5 months, and thanks to your generous contributions, 48 children are now receiving monthly distributions. Starting from December, all donations are tax-deductible, as we’ve partnered with PFEE (People for Educational Equality), a local non-profit organization. With your support, we’ve raised $25,000 and distributed $15,000. To continue our efforts throughout the school year, we need your help. We’ve had to pause new applications and aim to raise $12,000 to cover the remainder of the school year. Our ultimate goal is to raise an additional $30,000, which would allow us to reopen applications and extend assistance to more children or into the summer. Please consider contributing to make a positive impact on these kids’ lives.
On August 8, 2023, LahainaTown on our beautiful island of Maui was burned to the ground. Thousands of people lost their homes and at least 100 people lost their lives. We decided that we would help as many of the keiki (children) to get through the trauma of losing homes, schools, family and friends. The children are the future of our island and we want to keep them here. The program was established to distribute funds every month to 100+ children and their families, through the end of the 2023-2024 school year. We want to provide peace of mind that they will not be forgotten so that they may focus on their physical and emotional recovery and what they do best- just being kids! We are working with schools, counselors and people we know to identify those children and families most in need and then verify each family in person.
We had a GoFundMe where we quickly set up and raised over $20,000. Weʻve currently identified 30 children and have started making monthly distributions. While we know we could get many more, we need more funds to support more children. We have kids whose ages range from 1 to 21. Over 84% of the children have lost their home; 19% have lost an immediate family member or close friend. Many of the children are from generational families who have lost everything – their jobs, homes and cars.
We want to support many more children and were grateful that we could align with a Lahaina-based non-profit organization: PFEE – People for Educational Equality to get additional donations.
As always, we’ll maintain open and transparent communication with our valued supporters. We have established a dedicated Facebook Group where we can share updates, stories of impact, and the outcomes of our collective efforts.
The Maui Keiki Fire Relief Fund is organized and supported by Aloha Group Maui a real estate team serving Maui.
Aloha Group Team Members include: ʻLahaina Leeʻ and Barbara Potts, Cheri Miller, Keri Nicholson, Myra Plant, Anthony Freda, Suni Novotny, Courtney Stice, Kathy Becklin, Heather Zidell, Magdalena Odonnell, Sarah Twitchell, Stephanie Kirkham and Tony Brown. We are a real estate team of Keller Williams Realty Maui. Our office was destroyed in the fire. We are grateful daily that we all survived the fires though some lost their homes.
The Lahaina Strong logo was created by Mike Reich, a local Maui artist.
Mahalo to everyone who made the 2019 Bids For Kids Fundraiser a total success!
We were able to give $25,000 to the Lahaina Complex Tutor Project!
CLICK to see some of the Auction Items that were donated to the event.
Items that were auctioned as part of our 2019 Bids For Kids fundraising event!