On August 8th 2023, I woke up and did my normal routine of scrolling through instagram. I saw a couple of posts about a wildfire in Maui. Specifically near Lahaina. I thought nothing of it, as Maui has fires all the time and often, nothing bad happens. As the morning went on, I kept checking and realized this was getting bad. I woke my boyfriend up to tell him and we both looked up more info online. Lahaina was literally burning to a crisp. Then Kula and other parts of Upcountry Maui started to burn. We felt helpless as we sat in our home in Virginia watching the devastation happen before our eyes. I obsessively kept checking instagram, Facebook, and google for updates. The photo's I kept seeing brought me to tears. Front Street was absolutely gone. So many locals homes, gone. I mean, completely gone. Glass, aluminum, steel, all melted. My heart hurt so much for the people of Maui.
(Not my images)
I lived there for 5 years, sold my artwork on Front Street in Lahaina for 2 years, photographed many families on Lahaina Shores Beach for years, walked the galleries of Lahaina with friends for inspiration. Now the Lahaina I know is just a memory. Such a strange feeling to have.
I panicked as a few of my friends worked and lived in Lahaina. The cell service was down on the West Side for a lot of people and I didn't hear from them in days. Thankfully, they were safe and their homes were safe. However, the places they worked in was gone. I sold my stickers at the Lahaina Restoration Foundation for years. All the artwork in there was from local artists, sadly all burnt. As I sat in my home feeling hopeless, I felt the need to do something. So I posted on Maui Bound's Facebook page that I would donate 100% of my profits to families who lost everything in the Fires on August 8th, 2023. I got an overwhelming response of orders. Around 200 people bought artwork to help those in Maui! It was amazing. It took Etsy a while to get the funds to my account, but in the end, myself and those who donated were able to conjure up $3000 for relief funds for families in Maui! I followed an Instagram page that posts local families with a description of what happened to them and their Venmo. So, my boyfriend and I sat down and chose 6 families to donate to. We were careful to find people who lost homes and businesses, single parents or parents with newly born babies. Each family I sent $500 to.
The Winchester Star here in Winchester, VA also put out a little article about my ties to Lahaina and my fundraiser. I also generated a little funds from that article which was so cool. I couldn't just sit around and do nothing, I am glad my artwork was able to help bring a little joy to not only the families I donated to, but also those who bought my artwork as a donation. So, for the rest of 2023, I am donating 25% of my sales to families still. I wish I could keep donating 100%, but I do have bills that I have to pay and food I gotta buy. If you feel the desire to help, take a look at my store on my etsy shop here or my website and find a piece that speaks to you. I have a Lahaina Painting posted below of the Pioneer Inn and Harbor with the West Maui Mountains and a turtle and whale. It was painted with Watercolors for the Lahaina Poster Contest of 2018. It sadly didn't win, but I had a wonderful time painting that piece and I am so glad I did as it is an amazing memory of my art journey in Maui. I am also open for commissions at this time, so if you want a custom piece, give me a call or email and we will come up with a painting specifically for you and your home! I love it when people come together to help those in need. This world needs more of that.