HOW TO HELP
Coalition of San Antonio cultural organizations band together to offer Maui wildfire relief
Viewing the devastation that ripped through Lahaina, Hawaii on August 8, it's easy to be disconsolate. But it's heartening to see fundraising endeavors gain momentum nationwide. San Antonio is no different, with many rising to the occasion to send relief to the island.
The latest effort comes from a group of four San Antonio organizations rallying support for the Imua Maui Relief Fund, an initiative aimed at aiding the children and families whose lives have been severely disrupted by the recent natural disaster. The San Antonio Zoo, Tobin Center for the Performing Arts, Witte Museum, and the Will Smith Foundation (not related to the famous actor) have banded together to encourage donations to the vital cause.
Managed by Imua Family Services, a longstanding Maui nonprofit, the fund will ensure that the money raised will have a tangible impact on the Lahaina community. As a clearer picture of the damage emerges, the organization will adapt to meet the shifting needs of the community.
Susan Naylor, the founder of the Will Smith Foundation, shares a personal connection with the cause. After losing her eight-year-old son in a car crash near Lahaina, she developed a profound bond with the island — creating the Will Smith Imua Discovery Garden in his memory.
"I've been told there is a magnetic energy, or beat, on Maui," Naylor explains via a release. "[The island] pulls the people in she wants and sends the others home ... The island has chosen me, and through these years, I've worked to help the children in Maui through Will's foundation."
Contributions to the Imua Maui Relief Fund can be made online, offering San Antonians the chance to stand in solidarity with the affected Maui community. The collaboration between the San Antonio organizations provides a direct way to help, removing the confusion that often occurs after a natural disaster.
"There is a message in this great disaster that has occurred on our island," Naylor says. "It's a message to come together and be Maui strong. So I'm appealing to my hometown San Antonio to help restore the spirit—mana—of Maui, whose people will always be in my heart."