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Donation drive at UVU brings in supplies to send to Maui

Posted at 5:28 PM, Aug 13, 2023

OREM, Utah — The town of Lahaina on the Hawaiian island of Maui is not just a tourist destination.

"Our royalty, the cemetery they were buried at was burned down. It was the first capital of Hawaii, our oldest school public boarding school. Our people's culture and roots run deep in Lahaina," said Hula Kalua-Santiago.

After seeing the aftermath of the devastating Maui wildfire, Hula Kalua-Santiago and the Utah Valley University Pacific Islander Initiative set up the Maui Relief Drive.

"My family is from Maui, many of our students are from Maui, and they've lost their homes and everything they own, and so we wanted to do something because we have all of these resources here," Kalua-Santiago said.

Since the drive began on Friday, Utahns have donated thousands of items including clothes, hygiene products, luggage, food and blankets.

"At this point, we're looking more towards hygiene products, Ziplocs to put things in, reusable bags, masks for smoke inhalation, really anything to help with medical things," Kalua-Santiago said.

People across the state have also volunteered hours sorting donations, putting them into piles, and getting them ready to be shipped off.

"There are lots of ways that you can help — coming and volunteering here and donating to a lot of orgs who are supporting the helping cause, so if you can do something, go do it," said volunteer Sean Allsop.

For many, donating and volunteering to drives like this is a way they can support Maui from thousands of miles away, which is what Kalua-Santiago encourages people to do.

"Stay home, be with your families," Kalua-Santiago said. "People have lost their families, lost their homes. Hawaii isn't a place to go vacation right now. We can do our part and stay home, helping where we're at."