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San Diegans organize more supply drives to help victims of Maui fires

'San Diego loves Maui' filled a fourth truck on Sunday
maui supply drive 10th planet jiujitsu 8/27/23
Posted at 6:21 PM, Aug 27, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-27 21:21:38-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — San Diegans are still doing their part to help the people affected by the wildfires in Hawaii.

The API initiative says it has sent multiple truckloads of supplies to Maui in recent weeks. But those supplies have run out.

"It wasn't even a second thought that we have to somehow mobilize the San Diego community," said Ilima-Lei Macfarlane, who co-organized Sunday's drive at 10th Planet Jiujitsu in Grantville. "They said that our first run that we did is now depleted."

Macfarlane moved to San Diego from Hawaii 15 years ago. She still feels a strong connection to home and put out a second call for help this week.

"I'm going to keep fighting for this. I don't care how long it takes," she said.

The group in Maui that Macfarlane and API are working with told them exactly what they needed most: Items like diapers, baby formula, toilet paper, toothbrushes and water.

On Sunday, donations filled up a 16-foot truck. But in recent weeks, they filled up two 21-foot trucks and a 26-foot truck. Alaska Airlines shipped the items to the island, free of charge.

For some contributors, dropping off items is about giving back and putting themselves in the shoes of people in Lahaina.

"We went through the 2003 and 2007 fires up in Ramona, so we know what it's like," Al Winters said as he dropped off items with his wife, Lara.

"People walk up to us and want to share their stories. Just like (a woman) who just dropped off a truckload of supplies. She said she was just in Lahaina, and she feels connected and wants to help," API Public Relations Director JoAnn Fields said.

Sunday's drive may have ended at 2 p.m., But Macfarlane's love for the people on Maui, and the help she is offering from San Diego, isn't ending any time soon.

"As long as it takes, we're going to do the drive, because this isn't going to be an issue that's resolved in 30 days," she says.

Macfarlane says they have a group flying to Maui next week too. The goal is to help relieve volunteers who are already working there.