It seems the whole world knows about the devastating fires on Maui and donations have been pouring in from around the globe. In the aftermath of the August 8th wildfires the community pulled together to assist wherever they could.

Hawaii Governor Josh Green (center)  with some of the Red Cross Volunteers, including Kelly and Bob King (at right).

The relief effort hit close to home. Since last year, Pacific Biodiesel President Bob King has been serving as Chair of the American Red Cross of Hawaii – Maui County Advisory Council. Just days after the fires, King was actively working with the Red Cross Maui team to assist in setting up shelters and distribution sites for survivors of the fires who lost their homes and/or had to evacuate.  With only one paid employee, Maui Disaster Program Manager Jenny Worth, our Red Cross depended on a legion of volunteers. King continued to assist in the following weeks, joining the volunteer force at various shelters and was a constant presence at the Maui Red Cross office.

With its off-grid fueling station currently installed at Ma’alaea Small Boat Harbor, Pacific Biodiesel was able to offer free biodiesel to boat operators providing emergency transportation to deliver needed supplies to Lahaina. Initially, with all the roads closed, this was one of the few ways to reach the center of devastation.

During President Bidenʻs visit to Maui in late August a luncheon was held for many of the victims and first responders. The President and First Lady Dr. Biden were joined by Hawaiiʻs Governor Josh Green, U.S. Senators Mazie Hirono and Brian Schatz, and State and County elected officials. Bob and Kelly King were invited to attend alongside members of the Maui Red Cross team. The President and Dr. Biden spent a couple of hours meeting with local officials and talking to victims of the wildfires.

L to R: Pacific Biodiesel Marketing Director Joy Galatro, Grammy award winning Maui musician George Kahumoku Jr, Pacific Biodiesel Co-Founder Kelly King and multi-platinum music producer Kerry Brown, owner of Licorice Pizza Records.

Pacific Biodiesel’s sister company, Maiden Hawaii Naturals, delivered culinary oils to Chef Hui at the University of Hawaii Maui College where local chefs provided their expertise to prepare meals for those in need. In the first six days of activation, Chef Hui, in partnership with Common Ground Collective and World Central Kitchen, produced over 50,000 meals at the college’s Culinary Arts Program facilities. As Chef Hui continues  to support those in need, Maiden Hawaii Naturals also donated a portion of proceeds from sales of its Maui Sunflower culinary oil at the recent Made in Maui County Festival to the organization, which plans to prepare more than 10,000 meals for Maui families during the holidays.

Also Kim and Jack Johnson’s Kōkua Hawaii Foundation, based on Oahu, celebrated its 20th anniversary with a farm to table dinner fundraiser  in October with 50% of the proceeds benefitting Maui fire food relief efforts. Maiden Hawaii Naturals supported that effort by providing its Maui Sunflower Culinary Oil to KHF Board Member and award-winning chef Ed Kenney to use in preparing the meals.

The support for Maui has extended well beyond Hawaii’s shores. Kerry Brown of Licorice Pizza Records and Rolling Live Studios created a special musical livestream concert on September 8, exactly one month after the fires, to support the Hawaii Community Foundation’s Maui Strong Fund Brown’s benefit concert artist line-up featured a mix of award-winning Maui musicians and internationally renowned artists including George Kahumoku Jr, Ziggy Marley, Jack Johnson, Lukas Nelson, Sarah McLachlan, Mick Fleetwood, Iam Tongi, Gretchen Rhodes and Benny Uyetake among many others. The Pacific Biodiesel Marketing team was recruited to help coordinate some of the Maui location tapings and video interviews and Kiaora Bohlool of Maui Video & Marketing joined the project. Click here to watch the full livestream event.

With Lahaina virtually wiped out, it will take years for Maui to recover from this disaster. Donations can be made to The Red Cross, Chef Hui, and Hawaii Community Foundation – Maui Strong Fund to help the immediate and long-term recovery needs of the people and places affected by the disaster.

President Biden gathered with Red Cross and other volunteers during his visit to Lahaina including Pacific Biodiesel’s Kelly King (at right front.)

Marketing Associate Beth Mathias helped deliver Maiden Hawaii Naturals Maui Sunflower Oil to Chef Lisa Villiarimo with the Chef Hui team at University of Hawaii Maui College to use in preparing meals for fire victims and first responders.