Federal Way foundation supports Maui wildfire victims

The Ke`ala `O Kamailelauli`ili`i Foundation knew they had to help their people without hesitation.

The town of Lahaina in Maui was a home for many who now have nowhere to go.

The Ke`ala `O Kamailelauli`ili`i Foundation, based out of Federal Way since 1996, knew they had to support their people, so they contacted private citizens in Maui and gathered supplies for first responders as their first priority. They sent bags, body bags, first aid kits, gauze, sanitation wipes, medications, and then focused on hygiene supplies.

“It’s not something that I felt like we had to do. It is just the thing to do, and your people need help, and you just go help. It’s not a matter of ‘Oh, I need to go help,’ or ‘Should I go help’ or ‘Is there a reward to go help?’ No, the people needed help, and it’s our people, and we just help. That’s all it is,” said Kamaile Hamada, founder of the Ke`ala `O Kamailelauli`ili`i Foundation.

Hamada said what some people don’t know is many people on the island, despite not having many resources themselves and needing their own help, also help others on the island. Hamada said this is just the culture in Hawaii — it is how people in Hawaii are raised.

Hamada is from Kauai, and although he doesn’t personally know anyone affected in Lahaina, he said those are still his people. Besides that, he said many people involved with his foundation have families in Lahaina who were affected by the fires.

In addition to helping people who have lost everything, Hamada said another concern is people taking advantage of those who lost their homes in Lahaina.

“Their whole world got burnt down, and then you have people who take advantage of the situation, and they have funds and have money, and they will be the very ones who make an offer to the people in Hawaii, those who have nothing,” Hamada said. “Because they have nothing, they will take the money and have even more of nothing. That is the concern of what is going to start happening.”

Hamada said he fears people will be offered less than their home is worth because they need the money. Hamada said he can’t prevent that from happening, and all he can do is help provide supplies to Maui — and he is far from done with that.

“When we started this, we knew from the very beginning, it’s not a one-time thing, it’s not a one-week thing, it’s gonna be ongoing for months, right?” Hamada said. “As long as our resources are willing to work with us, as far as allowing us to send our items to Maui, then yeah, we’re in for it, and we’re in for the long haul.”

Lahaina fire update

As of Aug. 22, the fire in Lahaina is 90% contained, and there have been 114 confirmed fatalities from the destruction of Lahaina caused by a hurricane and wildfire. Although 114 fatalities are confirmed, according to mauiinformationguide.com, over 1,000 people are still missing, and they expect rising fatalities as search and rescue increases.