Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS announced a $50,000 emergency grant, made in the name of the Broadway community, to the Maui Food Bank in Hawaii to provide immediate relief for those suffering from cataclysmic wildfires that destroyed the historic coastal town of Lahaina on the island of Maui.
This emergency grant on August 17, 2023, will help the food bank provide meals, fresh water and personal hygiene supplies to thousands of Maui residents whose homes and businesses have been decimated. The Maui Food Bank is the island’s primary safety net for hunger relief and built a community-wide network of more than 140 partner agencies that are effectively distributing food and other essential items. The food bank already has delivered 250,000 pounds of food to individuals and emergency shelters in the aftermath of the wildfires.
“To those in Lahaina and on the island of Maui, all of us in the theater community – onstage, backstage and in the audience – want you to know you are not alone,” Tom Viola, executive director of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, said. “While a single grant cannot replace all that’s been tragically lost in this historic fire, we know that we can make a difference on the ground, in the Lahaina and Maui communities by offering solace, meals and assistance to those left so bereft by this catastrophe.”
More than 100 people have been confirmed dead on Maui and many more on the island remain unaccounted for. It’s the worst natural disaster in Hawaiian history and the deadliest wildfire in the United States in more than a century. The town of Lahaina, once the capital of the Hawaiian kingdom, was incinerated and some residents there ran into the ocean to flee the heat and flames. The wildfires damaged more than 2,200 structures and burned 2,170 acres.
“It is beyond sad, and the devastation is surrealistic,” Maui Food Bank Development Director Marlene Rice shared. ”The heartbreaking stories of people who have lost everything, including family members, continue to grow. Thank you for your love and generosity for Lahaina and Maui. We appreciate you all more than you know.”
Maui Food Bank has been part of Broadway Cares’ National Grants Program since 2019 and, most recently, was awarded $15,000 during January’s food grants round, which provided $2.8 million to 241 organizations across the country. For more information on Maui Food Bank, visit mauifoodbank.com. When disaster strikes, Broadway Cares, on behalf of the theater community, consistently steps up to provide emergency help to agencies and organizations providing immediate, on-the-ground help. Emergency grants sent in the past year have included support for Florida and Puerto Rico for hurricane relief and for the humanitarian crisis in war-torn Ukraine.