Lāhainā Fire Relief Plan

“Halau Lāhainā, malu i ka ‘ulu.” Lāhainā is like a large house shaded by breadfruit trees.
- 'Ōlelo Noʻeau (Hawaiian proverb)

photo by Cameron Brooks Photography

photo via @cameronbrooksart

Our Commitment

In response to the devastating fire that swept through Lāhainā, Maui, we are fully committed to aiding the community's recovery efforts however we can. Our current approach involves supporting immediate food assistance for refugees and facilitating reforestation efforts of local farmers and grassroots organizations as part of long-term resilience and recovery.

uhmc kitchen fire disaster relief for lahaina

Immediate Relief Efforts

The Culinary Arts kitchen facilities at the University of Hawaiʻi Maui College (UHMC) have become a central hub for preparing and distributing meals to fire refugees. Normally at this time of year, the ʻUlu Co-op partners with UHMC to aggregate and minimally process Maui farmers’ ʻulu crop. Instead, Culinary Arts program instructors, staff and others are now working tirelessly to produce nearly 10,000 meals daily, and culinary classes have been postponed until at least mid October. 

To support the feeding initiative, we've partnered with UHMC, Common Ground Maui, and Chef Hui to provide fresh and minimally processed staple crops and produce from our Hawaiʻi Island farmers. The first shipments have been dispatched and include a variety of items such as palaʻai, kalo, ʻuala, vegetables and tropical fruits. These donations are meticulously coordinated with local partners to align with the community's immediate needs.

As many disaster relief leaders have shared, recovery will be a “marathon not a sprint” and we are coordinating subsequent food donations closely with those on the ground to ensure that: 

1) Products donated align with current need in terms of crop type, volume, and timing, and 
2) We are complementing and never displacing products from Maui farmers and food hubs first.

Farmers deliver produce to aid Lahaina disaster relief

Opportunities for Hawaiʻi Island Farmers

We invite interested Hawaiʻi Island farmers to participate by contributing produce. If you'd like to get involved, please contact us at info@eatbreadfruit.com and provide your crop list and volume. This close coordination ensures efficient distribution and prevents potential oversupply issues.

loading up produce

Long-Term Resilience and Restoration 

‘Ulu agroforests were historically planted across Hawaiʻi as an important source of food and other natural resources, including a famous ʻulu grove on Maui in Lāhainā. Hence the ʻōlelo noʻeau (Hawaiian proverb), “Halau Lāhainā, malu i ka ‘ulu” – Lāhainā is like a large house shaded by breadfruit trees.”


image via @kakoo_haleakala

Recognizing that the root causes of the devastating Maui fires are largely man-made—ranging from extreme weather events related to climate change, to the proliferation of non-native vegetation in unmanaged areas—we are committed to supporting the restoration of ʻulu agroforests in and around Lāhainā. Breadfruit trees can play a crucial role in mitigating the impacts of climate change (including droughts and fires), protecting our watersheds, and preventing soil erosion – all while producing an abundance of nutritious staple food for the local community. Through our partnership with Project Kanu, we're currently accepting donations that will be used to help deliver ʻulu trees to local farmers and grassroots organizations once they are ready to begin replanting. 

Other Ways You Can Help

We are deeply inspired by the groundswell of community-led response efforts on Maui . The Hawaiian values of aloha, mālama, and kōkua are being demonstrated in action and serve as an example for the world of how people can come together in crisis. There are many reputable organizations accepting donations to support these grassroots efforts. If you are able and interested in contributing financially, below are a few of the verified sources you can donate to.  

Vetted Donation Programs:

UH Maui College Feeding Program: transformation of Culinary Arts kitchen facilities into central hub for refugee feeding efforts. 

Common Ground Maui - coordinating supplies in partnership with the UHMC feeding effort. Also accepting donations of wholesale volume produce.

Chef Hui - Feed the People Maui: coordinating with UHMC and additional networks of chefs around the islands to support feeding efforts. 

Maui Food Hub: One of Maui’s local food hubs; assisting with connecting food to families and meal preparation efforts, and purchasing from farmers who lost markets as a result of the fires. 

Maui Strong Fund at the Hawaiʻi Community Foundation: currently waiving their 10% fee to support rapid response and recovery efforts including shelter, food and financial assistance for affected families. 

Help Maui Rise: Directly Aid ʻOhana Displaced by Fires - A comprehensive list of GoFundMe/Venmo links.

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