How You Can Help Local Chefs Feed People Affected By The Maui Fires

Food & Drink

Now that restaurateur Peter Merriman knows his employees are all accounted for – although 85 lost their homes – he is doing everything he can to help with disaster relief efforts in Maui.

Merriman’s Kapalua alongside Monkeypod Kitchen have joined forces with other local businesses to offer meals to those in need. Currently they are feeding 1,000+ people a day out of Merriman’s kitchen and delivering over 500 of those meals to people who can’t leave their homes, don’t have fuel, etc. So far the restaurants have funded efforts themselves, with some help from suppliers, but there is a long way to go.

“Noblesse oblige is probably improper in today’s world. Yet we believe, that being fortunate enough to operate a business in the most beautiful place on the planet, comes with a responsibility. We are honored to be in a position to help our fellow Mauians. Keep the Aloha,” said Merriman.

Monkeypod’s CEO Sara Hill, who is on the ground in Maui, says that their efforts have fed about 10,000 meals so far, with over half being delivered directly to homes, first responders, and volunteers in the field.

“Delivery has become a pretty cool service that we’re doing for people who can’t get out of their homes, such as the elderly, people with no more gas – the one open gas station is cash only – people whose car burned in the fire, and crews who are working on [restoring] power or medical tents or securing perimeter, fire, etc.” says Hill.

“The first few days was all grassroots, local organizing with restaurants, local vendors, etc. to get people supplies and support over there,”

she continues. “Initially getting any food or fuel supplies there was extremely difficult because the road was closed as the fire containment continued. Operation started before there was even power back on and we fed hundreds of people from outdoor grills for the first couple days.”

The manager running the food operation at Merriman’s Kapalua during the current efforts escaped the fire on foot, and lost her home.

Hill, along with two other restaurant CEOs, got three Starlink hot spots from Oahu. A family member flew them over and they got them on a food supply truck. “They gave connectivity and communication to our operation at Merriman’s, a neighborhood base yard where major supplies were coming in and going to the community, and a hotel/restaurant operation, too. There still isn’t reliable access to communication or internet, so that was critical to get people what they needed.”

Everyone on Maui is touched by this tragedy either very personally or has close friends and family who were. Tons of local chefs are feeding people in shelters on the other side of the island and providing food at their spots on the west side, too.

The community on the west side immediately started creating group child care/play time opportunities for kids so parents could get some space to try to apply for federal aid, make insurance claims, unemployment, etc.

If you are in Maui and need help, follow Monkeypod on Instagram, if you can. Those wishing to help the efforts can donate through this website.

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