BAKERSFIELD, CA — Hope is on the way for firestorm-battered residents in Maui who’ve lost everything. It will soon touch down in the form of a Boeing 747sp airliner packed with 30 tons of desperately needed relief supplies, on Monday, September 18 at Kahului Airport in Maui. The relief mission is a joint collaboration between two nonprofits, Fill the Needs and CityServe International, the global church network based in Bakersfield, CA.
The value of the supplies and in-kind donations for this effort total more than $1 million. The vital resources to be delivered include food, e-bikes, air purifiers, and baby food, to name only a handful of the items soon to be loaded on the mammoth jet. Shipping for the items and access to the 747 aircraft was secured by Task Force Lahaina.
Donors include No Child Hungry, Rad Power Bikes, Shark Ninja, Gund Stuffed Animals, Stanley/Black & Decker, Step 2, Sunking Refurbished Electronics, Gaylord Properties, Kekoa Organic Products, Guitar Center Foundation, Carey Reiley Media, Sports Grants, ADRA, Spinmaster, Wild Republic, Yvolution Scooters, Priority Bicycles, Good 360, Spinmaster, Wild Republic, and Southard Parmalat Milk.
CityServe and its local church partners have been active on the ground in Maui immediately following the fires. The faith-based network has distributed over 250,000 meals to devastated residents, many of whom lost not only their homes, but their jobs and means of transportation as well.
“We’re resourcing local churches to be a consistent, daily beacon of hope in their local communities,” said Todd Lamphere, CityServe’s vice president of governmental relations. “When folks on Maui see that giant 747 unloading the relief supplies, they’ll know they haven’t been forgotten and that help will not subside even as the news cycle moves on.”
The wildfires that swept across the island last month torched over 17,000 square acres of land, destroying more than 2,200 offices, storefronts, and homes. Over 100 people remain missing, with another 115 have been confirmed dead.
“Given the disastrous level of devastation on Maui,” says Fill The Needs Executive Director Amy Sins, “we knew our team had to scale our relief up to unprecedented levels and collaborate with as many organizations as possible. Fill the Needs has developed an incredible network of partners committed to long-term recovery and who care about families suffering great loss.”
“And I have to say,” she added, “that everyone working on this project is eager to send a message of hope and happiness. Perhaps the sight of a jumbo jet packed full of desperately needed supplies can do just that.”
The Fill the Needs and CityServe shipment got underway in Las Vegas, with the loading of emergency provisions beginning on Sunday, September 17.
The aircraft took off from Las Vegas on Monday, September 18 at 7:20 am local time. It will land at Kahului Airport at 9:00 am Hawaii time.
Once the jet lands, the items will be unloaded and distributed to various organizations in the community. Under the direction of Pastor Sean Housman, Calvary Chapel volunteers will be on hand at the airport to assist with unloading and their team will be distributing this critical aid to the community.
Among island residents’ greatest needs is local transportation. Individuals who saw their vehicles destroyed by fire find themselves with no way to travel to central locations where they can obtain the food and relief supplies they need. CityServe has answered this need by establishing neighborhood distribution hubs to help the displaced residents sheltering in nearby hotels.
Additionally, the 747’s cargo manifest includes electric scooters, bikes, and e-bikes. This means community groups and volunteers now have reliable solutions for delivery, outreach, and transportation in the region.
Other much needed items on the jet’s cargo manifest include electronics such as laptops, chargers, and iPads to help residents get back to work and school. One other special item that should bring a few smiles where none could be expected: Ukuleles. The hope is that these will help to lift the spirits of those whose lives have been upended.
CityServe is a collaborative network of churches and community leaders who help those in need live better lives. CityServe empowers the local church to fulfill its purpose to overcome despair and transform lives by resourcing them with tangible goods and capacity building. CityServe brings the church to the table to address community challenges by offering long-lasting relationships that lead to transformation and has been designated a “Community of Faith and Opportunity” by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
About Fill the Needs
Fill the Needs empowers and unites disaster relief efforts by building a robust, collaborative networks of partners focused on the critical first 14 days following a disaster and beyond. We enhance the effectiveness of disaster response through resource & supply coordination, information sharing, and support of our network partners. Fill the Needs provides training programs and helps to leverage the collective strength of our network partners. We create a more resilient and efficient disaster relief ecosystem leaving a lasting positive impact.